Lasantha Wickramatunga

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Alerts   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan military intelligence officers suspected in journalist's murder

Media rights activists light candles in front of the portrait of slain Sri Lankan newspaper editor Lasantha Wickramatunga during a silent vigil to condemn his killing in Colombo, January 15, 2009. (Reuters/Buddhika Weerasinghe)

New York, February 23, 2017--Sri Lankan authorities should fully investigate the 2009 murder of an editor and bring his killers to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Five military intelligence officers were arrested this week in connection with the murder of Lasantha Wickramatunga, the editor-in-chief of the weekly Sunday Leader and a fierce critic of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, according to news reports.

February 23, 2017 4:04 PM ET

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Reports   |   Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria

Getting Away With Murder

CPJ’s 2016 Global Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free

By Elisabeth Witchel, CPJ Impunity Campaign Consultant

Published October 27, 2016.

Some of the highest rates of impunity in the murders of journalists can be attributed to killings by Islamist militant groups, CPJ found in its latest Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered and their killers go free. The worst country for the second year in a row is Somalia, where the militant group al-Shabaab is suspected in the majority of media murders, followed by Iraq and Syria, where members of the militant group Islamic State murdered at least six journalists in the past year.

Statements   |   Sri Lanka

CPJ welcomes new probe into murder of Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga

New York, September 27, 2016--Sri Lankan police today exhumed the body of slain journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga as part of a new investigation into his death in 2009, according to news reports. A Sri Lankan judge this month granted permission for the police to exhume the editor's body due to contradictory post-mortem reports--two months after a military intelligence officer was arrested in connection with the killing, according to news reports.

September 27, 2016 3:24 PM ET

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Reports   |   Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Syria

Getting Away With Murder

CPJ's 2015 Global Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free

Published October 8, 2015

The ambush of a convoy in South Sudan and the hacking deaths of bloggers in Bangladesh this year propelled the two nations onto CPJ's Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered and their killers go unpunished. Colombia exited the index as fatal violence against journalists receded further into that country's past.

For the first time since CPJ began compiling the index in 2008, Iraq did not claim the title of worst offender, as Somalia edged into that spot. The shift reflects a steady death toll in Somalia, where one or more journalists have been murdered every year over the past decade, and the government has proved unable or unwilling to investigate the attacks.

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.

Reports   |   Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka

The Road to Justice

3. Where Impunity Thrives

A climate of impunity reached a tragic culmination on November 23, 2009, when gunmen ambushed a caravan escorting political candidate Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu as he prepared to file papers to become a candidate for provincial governor in the Philippines. The attackers slaughtered 58 people, among them 30 journalists and two media workers, the largest toll of journalists murdered in a single act since CPJ began keeping track in 1992.

Letters   |   Sri Lanka

CHOGM leaders should urge media freedom in Sri Lanka

Dear Commonwealth Heads of Government: The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) was set up more than 40 years ago with the aim of working together toward shared goals of democracy, freedom, peace, and the rule of law. In the past, formal meetings and private retreats at the summit have served as a platform for member states to discuss issues that affect all nations, such as apartheid in South Africa and the electoral dispute in Zimbabwe.

Alerts   |   Sri Lanka

Critical Sri Lankan newspaper editor held at knifepoint

New York, August 26, 2013--Five unidentified men entered the Colombo home of a Sunday Leader associate editor and writer early Saturday morning, held her at knifepoint, and searched her home, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Sri Lankan authorities to conduct a thorough and efficient investigation into the attack on Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema.

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.

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