Posts Tagged ‘press freedom’

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Tissainayagam and colleagues in Sri Lankan jail for one year

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

[Committee to Protect Journalists]

The Sri Lankan government should release a journalist and his two colleagues who have spent a year behind bars on terrorism charges for publishing magazine articles, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Terrorist Investigation Division forces arrested Vettivel Jasikaran, manager of the news Web site OutreachSL, and his companion, Vadivel Valamathy, both ethnic Tamils, on March 6, 2008, according to local and international news reports and press freedom groups. Their colleague, Tamil columnist and OutreachSL editor J.S. Tissainayagam, was detained when he visited them the next day.

[Full Story]

Tamil journalist killed in bombardment amounting to “war crime”

Monday, February 16th, 2009

[Reporters Without Borders]

Reporters Without Borders today expressed revulsion at the death of a Tamil journalist in a Sri Lankan Army bombardment on the north of the country, which it described as a “war crime”. Punniyamurthy Sathyamurthy was killed during an air raid on 12 February on Thevipuram, Mullaithivu district in the region of Vanni, being fought over by the army and rebel Tamil Tigers (LTTE). He had recently filed news of the plight of civilians in the latest wave of fighting. “Army air strikes and artillery fire on areas where there are tens of thousands of civilians, including Tamil journalists, are war crimes” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

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BBC suspends Sri Lanka FM reports

Monday, February 9th, 2009

[BBC]

The BBC World Service is to stop providing radio news to Sri Lanka’s state broadcaster because of what it calls “deliberate interference”. A statement said FM broadcasts to the Sri Lankan Broadcasting Corporation would be suspended from Tuesday. The BBC said many of its news reports in Sinhala, Tamil and English had been blocked or only partially broadcast. The SLBC chairman admitted censoring BBC programming, saying he had a duty to do so at a time of war. “The BBC made it clear to SLBC that such interference and blocking meant that BBC programming was being editorially compromised by SLBC’s actions and this was contrary to the BBC’s contractual agreement with SLBC.

[Full Story]

Sri Lanka’s other war keeps media on the run

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

[AFP]

Sri Lanka is in the grip of its biggest military offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels, but the country’s journalists are also facing an unprecedented battle of their own. Since the killing of the anti-war Sunday Leader editor Wickrematunga on January 8, at least eight senior journalists and media activists have fled the island, fearing that they too could be targeted by unidentified attackers. Both local and international media rights groups have joined in demanding thorough investigations and an end to the culture of impunity that has encouraged attacks against the independent media over the years.

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U.S. ‘appalled’ by Sri Lanka attacks on journalists

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

[Reuters]

The United States said it was “appalled” by violence against journalists in Sri Lanka, after an editor was stabbed on Friday, the third attack on the country’s media this month. “The United States is appalled by continuing physical attacks and threats against media personnel in Sri Lanka,” State Department acting spokesman Robert Wood said in a statement. “These serious reports are disturbing indicators of the deteriorating atmosphere for media independence in Sri Lanka.” “We call on the government of Sri Lanka to protect all of its citizens by enforcing law and order, preventing intimidation of the media, and by conducting swift, full and credible investigations into attacks on journalists and other civilians,” the State Department said.

[Full Story]

Fresh media attack in Sri Lanka

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

[BBC]

The editor of a Sri Lankan weekly newspaper and his wife have been assaulted in Colombo in the latest of a series of attacks on journalists. Reporters on the Rivira weekly say four men on motorcycles blocked Upali Tennakoon’s car and attacked the couple with iron rods and other weapons. The pair are in a stable condition. The attack comes two weeks after top editor Lasantha Wickramatunga was shot dead. Meanwhile, fierce fighting continues as troops battle rebels in the north-east.

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Army ‘completes Jaffna takeover’

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

[ BBC ]

The last remaining strip of rebel-held land on the northern Jaffna peninsula is now in government hands, the Sri Lankan administration says. Correspondents say that taking full control after nine years is another strategic victory for the government. The capture follows the recent fall of the town of Kilinochchi and the strategically important Elephant Pass. Separately, the president has pledged to protect press freedom in the wake of a high-profile journalist’s killing.

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‘Drop’ in S Lanka press freedom

Friday, October 31st, 2008

[ BBC ]

International media watchdog groups say there has been a marked deterioration in press freedom in Sri Lanka. They say that the country has become the first in the world to use anti-terror legislation to punish reporters. The groups - at the conclusion of a visit to Sri Lanka - say journalists have been murdered, attacked and intimidated, especially in war areas. There has been no response from the government, which previously has said that it fully respects press freedom.

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Sri Lanka rights group says TV being militarised

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

[Reuters]

The appointment of a retired general to help run a Sri Lankan state television station is a sign of media militarisation not seen for decades, rights watchdogs said on Thursday. The government, engaged in a long-running war with Tamil Tiger rebels in the north of the island, called the accusation a “fabricated lie” and said former army major-general Sunil Silva would help cure chronic management weaknesses at the station.

[Full Story]

Three journalists on Outreachlk website released

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

[RSF]

Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the fate of five Tamil journalists arrested by anti-terrorist police in Colombo in the past six days and urges the Sri Lankan authorities to explain why they are being held. “The anti-terrorist police are accusing the journalists of receiving money from the Tamil Tiger rebels, but after investigating, we can confirm that the funds in question came from a German foundation and from Tamil exiles,” the press freedom organisation said. “We condemn the fact the some of these journalists were badly beaten during their first few days in detention, and that this was clearly done to extract confessions from them.”

[Full Story]

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