Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 01/29/2013 - 23:20
By Bob Dietz/CPJ Asia Program Coordinator, 29 January 2013 - Black January commemorations in Colombo have become an annual event. Tuesday's demonstration was the second. The protest aims to recall the series of killings and attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka in recent years, many of them occurring in Januaries past. All of them have gone untried and unpunished, sustaining the country's perfect record of impunity for those who want to silence media by murder. The demonstrations are not huge, but still an annoyance for the government. Last year's gathering had to be moved at the last minute when the government got a court order limiting the protest to a small area in front of the Colombo Fort Railway Station. The space was soon filled up with bussed-in counter-demonstrators, who accused the protesters of supporting the separationist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 12/29/2012 - 03:07
By Bob Dietz/CPJ Asia Program Coordinator, CPJ, 28 Dec 2012 - The most recent paper produced by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford, "Media Freedom in post-war Sri Lanka and its impact on the reconciliation process" does a great job of cataloging the abuse Sri Lankan journalists continue to face after the decades-long civil conflict with Tamil secessionists ended in May 2009. Written by BBC Tamil Service producer Swaminathan Natarajan, the report also outlines the wave of abuse that has come since President Mahinda Rajapaksa first rose to national power as prime minster in April 2004 before becoming president in 2005. Natarajan makes use of a lot of CPJ's data, but his 41-page report also sets the problems of Sri Lankan journalists in a broader political context. It's well worth the read.
Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 11/02/2012 - 01:00
By Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia Program Coordinator, November 1, 2012 - If you've been watching the attempts to silence media in Sri Lanka through attacks, disappearances, legal harassment, and government policies aimed at restricting free speech and the right to information, take the time to speak out with others around the world today. An opportunity like this only comes around every four years.
Submitted by Anonymous on Wed, 07/11/2012 - 23:20
By Bob Dietz/CPJ Asia Program Coordinator, CPJ, 10 July 2012 - As far as Frederica Jansz is concerned, "The Sri Lankan media have been completely cowed into submission by this regime with the exception of The Sunday Leader. It is Mahinda Rajapaksa's biggest success story next to winning the war."
Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 06/30/2012 - 00:51
New York, June 29, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in Sri Lanka to immediately stop harassing news outlets. Police in Colombo raided the offices of two opposition news websites today, arresting nine people and confiscating equipment, according to news reports. Authorities did not disclose the reason for the raid on the Sri Lanka Mirror and the Sri Lanka X News, both of which are based in the capital. News reports said that most of the nine arrested were journalists, but it is not clear who they were or why they were detained. Police also confiscated some computers and phones from the offices, news reports said. "Friday's raid shows that President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government remains determined to silence opposition voices," said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator. "Authorities should heed the many public appeals urging them to reverse this years-long policy of quashing media criticism of the government and military."
Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 06/03/2012 - 03:19
By Bob Dietz/CPJ Asia Program Coordinator, 02 June 2012 - Former Attorney General Mohan Peiris has been ordered to testify about a statement he made at the U.N. Committee Against Torture in Geneva on November 9, 2011, in which he said that Prageeth Eknelygoda was alive and living outside the country (see "Sri Lanka's savage smokescreen"). Peiris will have to appear at the Homogama Magistrate's Court in Colombo on June 5, next Tuesday, which has been hearing the case brought by Eknelygoda's wife, Sandhya, to learn more about his disappearance on January 24, 2010.
Submitted by Anonymous on Wed, 04/18/2012 - 02:40
CPJ, 17 April 2012 - CPJ’s 2012 Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and killers go free - 4 SRI LANKA - The government of Mahinda Rajapaksa has failed to prosecute any perpetrators in the nine murders that have taken place during his time in power, first as prime minister and then president. All of the victims had reported on politically sensitive issues in ways that were critical of the government. In 2006, for example, Tamil reporter Subramaniyam Sugitharajah was slain weeks after he reported on the killing of five Tamil students. Sugitharajah's photographs revealed the students died of gunshot wounds—contradicting military accounts that they were killed by their own grenade. In recent months, government officials have issued brazen public threats of violence against their critics, an alarming development given that 60 percent of Sri Lankan victims were known to have received threats before they were killed.
Submitted by Anonymous on Wed, 03/28/2012 - 01:54
By Bob Dietz (CPJ Asia Program Coordinator), Huffington Post, 26 March 2012 - In the wake of the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution calling for an investigation into Sri Lanka's alleged abuses of international humanitarian law during its war with Tamil separatists, the government has resorted to outright threats of violence against journalists who might dare to return home after taking part in the Geneva discussions.
Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 03/23/2012 - 00:27
CPJ, New York, March 22, 2012 -- The Sri Lankan government must immediately halt its intimidation of journalists who supported the adoption of a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution calling for an investigation into the country's alleged abuses of international humanitarian law during its war with Tamil separatists. Journalists in the capital, Colombo, told CPJ they were concerned by a state-controlled media campaign against them, which called them "traitors" for supporting the U.S.-backed motion. News accounts reported that Wednesday's vote, which passed 24 to 15, with eight abstentions, infuriated the Sri Lankan government.
Submitted by Anonymous on Wed, 11/16/2011 - 13:10
By Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia Program Coordinator, 16 November 2011 - Sri Lanka's former attorney general Mohan Peiris, who is now the senior legal adviser to the cabinet and who many Sri Lankans say is aiming to become the next Supreme Court Chief Justice, has made conflicting statements about missing journalist Prageeth Eknelygoda. The discrepancies do more than point up the government's indifference to Eknelygoda's fate and the mental anguish of his wife and two sons. Peiris's statements highlight the disregard with which the government views international opinion.