Sri Lanka government to investigate journalists

April 2, 2009

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.