The secretary to the president heads the committee that is mainly tasked with inquiring into professional issues of regional correspondents and make recommendations.
It will also comprise the director general of government information, an additional secretary to the media ministry and the commissioner general of labour.
President Maithripala Sirisena instructed, at the meeting at his office, to the committee to report back to him within the next three months.
Kandasamy Selvakumar, a journalist from the north, told the discussion that no solution has been given yet although they informed the president a year ago about their nearly 40 murdered and missing colleagues.
Legal action has been taken only on account of Lasantha Wickrematunge and Prageeth Ekneligoda out of a list of 44 journalists, murdered or repressed, that was handed over to the prime minister around two years ago.
Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka compiled the report which mentioned mainly the victimized journalists from the north.
If president Sirisena’s government establishes reconciliation, issues of northern journalists should first be addressed, Selvakumar said after the meeting.
Pressure that surpass their professional issues
The President’s Media Unit says the meeting discussed salaries, allowances and professional problems of regional correspondents.
Secretary of the media workers trade union conference Dharmasiri Lankapeli said they told the president that regional correspondents were faced with a pressure that surpassed their professional issues.
Taking action with regard to state-sponsored violence perpetrated against them should be given foremost attention, he said.
At the sixth delegates conference of the media workers trade union conference on 30 November 2016, president Sirisena promised to appointed a committee to ensure justice to the journalists who were repressed during the previous regime.
He also promised to expedite the government’s responsibilities with regard to journalists who were murdered, assaulted or fled the country and the media institutions that had come under arson and other attacks.