Karapitiya Hospital Director Dr. Shelton Perera has lodged a complaint to the Galle Police Headquarters against journalist Sajeewa Wijeweera seeking the disclosure of sources related to a news item published on the rata.lk website. Accordingly, journalist Sajeewa Wijeweera has been instructed to appear at the Galle Police today. Commenting on the incident, journalist Sajeewa Wijeweera said that the complaint was lodged due to the article he had written, “Doctors who avoid corona work and score points”. Sajeewa Wijeweera alleges that the director of the hospital saying in his complaint, the website published the information and internal documents of the doctors.
However, Sajeewa Wijeweera says that what he did was to disclose information that was in the public interest at the time of the disaster and that it was in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.
A senior lawyer stated that there is no legal basis to lodge a complaint to the police against the journalist for requesting the disclosure of sources who have obtained information regarding news published in the media. He also says that the attempt by the Director of Karapitiya Hospital to indirectly influence the relevant complaint is in violation of Sections 36 and 40 of the Information Act No. 12 of 2016. According to Section 36 of the Act, the Act should not do anything to prevent or discourage the flow of information. Also, under Section 40 of the Act, the disclosure or release of information by an official of a public authority shall not be punishable by any disciplinary or disciplinary action. Accordingly, the lawyer pointed out to us that the relevant doctor had indirectly threatened the safety of the whistleblowers who provided the information live.
Following the Director of the hospital, 11 other doctors who were accused in Sajeeva’s letter have also lodged complaints with the police.
The Free Media Movement and the Young Journalists Association have drawn their attention to the incident and several lawyers have come forward to assist Sajeeva Wijeweera.