Prageeth Eknelygoda

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Letters   |   Sri Lanka

CPJ calls on Sri Lanka to improve press freedom

Dear President Sirisena, As your government's post-election 100-day agenda nears completion the Committee to Protect Journalists, an international press freedom organization, recognizes your early endeavors in keeping promises to ensure media freedom. CPJ would like to request a meeting with you and your government to discuss the problems that persist for the country's media.

Letters   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan president should ensure improved climate for press freedom

Dear President Sirisena: The Committee to Protect Journalists, an international press freedom organization, is writing to congratulate you on your recent victory in Sri Lanka's presidential election. As Sri Lanka readies itself for a new chapter in its history, we urge your government to take concrete and meaningful steps to improve the climate for press freedom.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

How Sri Lanka's new president can ease decade of repressive press measures

Newspapers announce the election victory of Maithripala Sirisena, who has pledged to improve conditions for the press in Sri Lanka. (AFP/Lakruwan Wanniarachchi)

The stunning defeat of Sri Lanka's incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa by challenger Maithripala Sirisena on Friday has given way to questions about what changes, if any, will come for press freedom in a country that had grown deeply repressive under the previous leadership.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

UN rights chief should push Sri Lanka on press freedom

When the human rights watchdog for the United Nations visits Sri Lanka this weekend she should forcefully address the government's problematic record on press freedom.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka tries new ways to crush independent media

In Sri Lanka, where there has seldom been good news for the media in recent years, things have taken a further turn for the worse, as well as a turn for the bizarre. With President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government secure in its 2010 electoral mandate, its leaders have made fresh moves to tighten their control of the press. There is a plan afoot to re-criminalize defamation, and legislation has been proposed for a code of ethics that threatens to give the government a legal basis to quash journalism it deems "unethical." All this comes ahead of November's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, which seems sure to go ahead despite calls for boycotts from several quarters because of the government's poor human rights record.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's Black January: Year two

Journalists, rights activists, and opposition lawmakers, with Sandya Eknelygoda in the center, protest attacks on journalists and authorities' failure to punish the culprits in Colombo Tuesday. (AP/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

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.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, justice for Eknelygoda is a waiting game

Three years ago, on January 24, 2010, columnist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknelygoda vanished on his way to work to cover the final campaigning in Sri Lanka's bitterly contested presidential election. He has not been heard from since. The pro-opposition website he worked for, Lanka eNews, has been repeatedly attacked, its offices hit with arson, its staff arrested and harassed, its editor driven into exile in England.

January 23, 2013 6:01 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Sandhya Eknelygoda speaks for Sri Lanka's disappeared

When I first met Sandhya Eknelygoda in May 2010 in her home outside Colombo, she was a distressed mother of two young boys whose husband had gone missing. He was last seen four months earlier, just prior to the elections that returned President Mahinda Rajapaksa to power after the end of the decades-long war with Tamil secessionists. She still has no inkling of the whereabouts of her husband Prageeth, a cartoonist and columnist for the opposition website Lanka eNews (which has since ceased to operate in Sri Lanka because of arson attacks and legal harassment of its staff, but is maintained overseas).

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

A heads-up for Sri Lanka press freedom watchers

Prageeth Eknelygoda's wife and sons are still seeking information on him. (CPJ)

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.

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