CPJ draws spotlight on Sri Lanka during CHOGM

In the weeks leading up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the Committee to Protect Journalists and Speak Justice launched a campaign to draw attention to Sri Lanka's abysmal press freedom record.


  1. First, CPJ issued a letter to more than 50 Commonwealth leaders calling on them to urge the Sri Lankan government to end its assaults on the press and investigate journalist murders.
  2. That same week, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his decision to not attend the summit, citing Sri Lanka's poor record on human rights.
  3.  Within one day, we had more than 100 supporters.
  4. We quickly surpassed our goal of 250 supporters.
  5. CPJ and others engaged officials on press freedom and human rights in Sri Lanka.
  6. UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would be attending the summit, but would call for an investigation into human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.
  7. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India and Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam also announced their decision to not attend CHOGM.
  8. The Thunderclap went live during the opening ceremony of CHOGM. More than 300 supporters with a combined social media reach of almost 2.5 million joined CPJ in drawing attention to Sri Lanka's press freedom record.
  9. Human rights groups, freedom of expression advocates, journalists, and politicians across the world joined CPJ's call. Partners included: Human Rights Watch, IFEX, Article 19, English PEN, Index on Censorship, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Groundviews, Sri Lanka Campaign, No Fire Zone, Freedom Network among others.