New York, April 15, 2013--Sri Lankan authorities must immediately investigate an attack on the offices of a Tamil-language newspaper and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The offices of Uthayan have been attacked twice in two weeks.
A short note to follow up on an alert we posted Wednesday on the threatened deportation of Lohini Rathimohan (also spelled Lokini), a former television journalist and one of 19 Tamil refugees facing deportation from the United Arab Emirates. Earlier reports said the refugees, who reached Dubai illegally, could be deported this week.
New York, April 10, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by news reports that a Tamil journalist in the United Arab Emirates may be deported to Sri Lanka this week despite her United Nations refugee status, and calls on authorities in the UAE to halt any such deportation measures.
Six masked assailants on April 3, 2013, attacked the offices of a Tamil-language newspaper in the town of Kilinochchi in the Northern Province, injuring several employees and damaging equipment, according to news reports.
New York, March 26, 2013--The BBC announced today that it has suspended all radio broadcasts in Sri Lanka following what it called "continued interruption and interference" by a national broadcaster in the country.
New York, March 5, 2013--The Sri Lankan Defense Ministry says it wants to identify sources who provided information to the UK-based broadcaster Channel 4 for a new documentary alleging that government forces committed war crimes during the country's long civil conflict, The Divaina, a Sinhala-language daily, reported today. In response, the producer issued a statement saying that no "resident anywhere in Sri Lanka helped us with this film."
On February 13, Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said in her annual report to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that Sri Lanka's government has not taken enough steps recommended by its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). Although the LLRC is seen as a flawed attempt to heal Sri Lanka after decades of fratricidal conflict, last year the Human Rights Council adopted a U.S. motion calling on the government to act on the LLRC's recommendations. President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government ignored the resolution, but the Americans say they will make a similar motion at this year's meeting of the 22nd session of the UNHRC, which opens on February 25 in Geneva.
Sri Lanka remained a highly restrictive and dangerous nation for the press. Critical or opposition journalists continued to face a climate of intense intimidation. More than 20 journalists have gone into exile in the last five years, one of the highest rates in the world. Work-related murders have declined since 2009, but the slayings of nine journalists have gone unsolved over the last decade, one of the worst records of impunity in the world. The government moved aggressively to obstruct the flow of information. In July, the Ministry of Media and Information blocked efforts to introduce freedom of information legislation before parliament, saying national security would be threatened if citizens were given access to public documents. The government had barred previous right-to-information efforts, including one in 2011. In June, police raided the offices of two opposition news websites, arresting staff members and confiscating equipment. At least five other critical websites were blocked. And in March, the authorities told all news organizations they must obtain prior official approval before issuing any text or SMS news alerts that carried information about the military or police.
Police never bothered to look for cartoonist Prageeth Eknelygoda. It's not unusual. By María Salazar-Ferro
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