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Sri Lanka government to investigate journalists

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The Sri Lankan government has appointed a Parliamentary Select Committee to investigate the work of journalists "who have been contributing articles detrimental to the interests of Sri Lanka to foreign Non Governmental Organizations", according to Sri Lanka Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella.

Government will reveal names of those Sri Lankan journalists in about a fortnight, he said naming them as "pro-LTTE journalists" link

Yesterday, the media and communicatons NGO Panos was accused by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence as a supporter of terrorism,

According to the minister, evidence have been surfaced that [Panos] has bought number of unscrupulous journalists to write articles supportive of tribalism and aimed at tarnishing the good image of the country and its armed forces. He said that, majority of these so- called journalists engaged in this sordid project are Sri Lankans , who have been writing under fake names to several local and international journals. The authorities have identified them and legal actions would be initiated against them, he added. link

A number of journalists have fled the island nation since the killing of Lasantha Wickrematunge, Sunday Leader editor in January, 2009. Journalists have been targetted and the media has been banned from entering the conflict zone. On March 25, the headquarters of the Tamil daily newspaper Uthayan in Jaffna was attacked. Yesterday evening, on April 1, a Tamil journalist was reportedly attacked in Batticaloa.

An unidentified gang has stab M.I Rahumathulla, the editor of the "Warauregal" weekly newspaper. Several journalists were attacked and killed during last few months in SriLanka. link

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists 16 journalists have been killed in Sri Lanka since 1992 making it one of the deadliest countries for reporters.


Gopi | April 2, 2009 8:45 PM

An HRW report accuses security forces and pro-government militias of abducting and "disappearing" hundreds of people - mostly Tamils - since 2006.Committee to Protect Journalists counts 10 journalists killed by premeditated murder since 1999, with no prosecutions or convictions. The Rajapaksa government and its predecessors must at least be held responsible for the impunity that surrounds attacks on journalists. Most of the killings came while Rajapaksa served as prime minister from April 2004, through the time he started his six-year term as president in November 2005, until now, No one has been brought to trial in any of these cases. The number of dead does not include journalists killed in crossfire or other events. The people were intentionally killed. With a failure to investigate and a realistic suspicion that government actors are complicit in the violence against journalists, the time has come for the international community to act.

Graham Holliday | April 2, 2009 10:09 PM

More on the attack in Batticaloa in the Sri Lanka Daily Mirror