Canadian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Maldives David McKinnon and British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Sarah Hulton congratulate Dr. Ranga Kalansooriya, on placing among the top five nominees for the 2020 Canada-United Kingdom Media Freedom Award
- Ranga Kalansooriya among top five shortlisted nominees
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne and United Kingdom’s First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Dominic Raab, recently announced the winner of the inaugural Canada-United Kingdom Media Freedom Award to recognise the journalists, individuals and organisations that actively promote and protect media freedom around the world.
Among the top five shortlisted, out of over 60 global nominations, was the Belarusian Association of Journalists (Belarus), Centro de Investigacion y Capacitacion Propuesta Civica (Mexico), SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom (Lebanon), Dr. Ranga Kalansooriya (Sri Lanka) and Mary Ajith Goch (South Sudan).
Dr. Ranga Kalansooriya is one of Sri Lanka’s pioneers in promoting the safety of journalists, media freedom and freedom of expression (FoE). He currently serves as the Asia Regional Advisor for International Media Support (IMS), on policy advocacy, research and capacity building in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines and Indonesia.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists, was jointly announced as the winner during this year’s Global Conference for Media Freedom, held virtually on 16 November and hosted by Canada and Botswana. The conference builds on the success of its inaugural session, held in London, United Kingdom, in 2019.
The establishment of the Media Freedom Award is one part of Canadian-UK efforts to drive international action on improving the safety of journalists around the world. The UK and Canada believe strongly that a free and independent media is an essential component of a functioning society, leading to greater stability and prosperity.
This year’s winner, the Belarusian Association of Journalists, was singled out for its ongoing commitment to journalistic ethics and principles and its perseverance and self-sacrifice in the face of increased targeted crackdowns on media in Belarus.
Joining the virtual conference First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom Dominic Raab said, “It is vital that journalists, wherever they work in the world, can shine a light on what is going on, without fear of retaliation, censorship or punishment. The work of those who defend media freedoms has never been more important.”
“At a time when media freedom is increasingly under attack, we commend the Belarusian Association of Journalists as it fights to protect the rights and freedoms, lives and livelihoods of media professionals in that country. Its ongoing efforts to counter repression and disinformation ensure the voices of journalists and citizens are heard, and matter, when it counts the most,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne.