The self censoring press under Rajapakse

February 21, 2011 Comments Off on The self censoring press under Rajapakse

Committee to Protect Journalists (15/02) – Attacks on the Press 2010: Asia Analysis

by Bob Dietz and Shawn W. Crispin

Lal Wickramatunga’s family and publishing house, Leader Publications, have paid dearly in Sri Lanka’s highly charged political climate. While Leader’s newspapers, including the weeklySunday Leader, are widely known for tough, independent reporting, they have been caught up in a partisan media environment, one filled with violence and censorship. Wickramatunga’s brother has been murdered, his company has been sued, and his journalists face intimidation.

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SL atmosphere poisonous for journalists

May 25, 2010 Comments Off on SL atmosphere poisonous for journalists

The Huffington Post : Sri Lanka and Its Journalists — A Country Going Wrong

Bob Dietz is the Asia Program Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists. CPJ’s new report In Sri Lanka, No Peace Dividend for Press is available online.

CPJ has launched a new report, In Sri Lanka, No Peace Dividend for Press. It takes a close look at the media in Sri Lanka, one year after the government declared a decisive victory over Tamil secessionists that ended 30 years of bitter, often genuinely suicidal ethnic conflict. In the years running up to that victory, Sri Lankan journalists who had dared to criticize the government found themselves under serious attack — ten have been killed for their work in the last decade, and many others have been harassed, arbitrarily jailed, temporarily “disappeared,” or otherwise seriously harassed. The atmosphere has become so poisonous for journalists that CPJ counts more than 25 in exile. Some of them have asked for, and received, political asylum. More

Sri Lanka learnt from Israel

October 9, 2009 Comments Off on Sri Lanka learnt from Israel

daily star regional (2)

Neither Sri Lanka nor Israel should have impunity in their ‘wars on terror’

Compare the international outcry over the Gaza massacre to the relative silence toward  Sri Lanka’s war against the Tamil people in 2008 and 2009. Conservative estimates place the death roll at over 20,000 people, perhaps as high as 50,000. The Colombo regime dismissed all attempts to cease its military operations, negotiate with the Tamil Tigers or allow the transfer of hundreds of thousands of civilians to safety. Today, close to 300,000 Tamils are trapped in government-imposed camps, surrounded by barbed wire and unable to leave.
The International Crisis Group told the European Parliament in early October that “such restrictions on freedom in the absence of due process are a violation of both national and international law.”
Sri Lanka was fighting its own “war on terror” with the Israeli playbook. Ban all independent media from the war zone, demonize human rights groups as sympathetic to terrorists, dismiss all questioning of tactics as giving in to terrorism and support the doctrine of overwhelming fire-power. Like Israel, Sri Lanka won the battle, but will inevitably lose the war.

More news this week…

October 4, 2009 Comments Off on More news this week…

UNHCR: UNHCR concerned about safety of displaced persons in Sri Lanka

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is deeply concerned about reports of security incidents taking place inside camps accommodating internally displaced persons (IDPs) in northern Sri Lanka.

The most recent incident took place on Saturday, September 26th in the Menik Farm camp, in the district of Vavuniya, when security forces reportedly attempted to stop a group of IDPs from moving between two zones of the camp. This angered the IDPs who subsequently attacked the sentries.

Security personnel then reportedly opened fire to disperse the mob. Several people are said to have been injured, including a child who was hit by a stray bullet and is now paralyzed. There are also reports of several people being detained following the disturbance. UNHCR calls upon the government to ensure the protection and physical security of the IDPs and to undertake a swift investigation into the event.

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UNHCR: Press Release – Freedom of moveent for a quarter of a million displaced, UN Representative discusses with Sri Lankan Government

“Restoration of freedom of movement for more than 250,000 internally displaced persons held in closed camps in Northern Sri Lanka is becoming a matter of urgency, and I remain very concerned about the very slow pace of releases,” the Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Walter Kaelin, highlighted at the end of a three-day return visit to Sri Lanka.

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BBC:  UN in Tamil ‘bitterness’ warning

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has warned that Sri Lanka risks creating “bitterness” if it fails to rapidly resettle Tamil refugees.

He conveyed this during talks with Sri Lankan Prime minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake at the UN in New York.

Mr Ban said further suffering under harsh conditions in the camps could lead to growing discontent in the government-run camps in the north.

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Tamilnet: 374 Vanni IDP families remain in Trinco transit centres

Three hundred seventy four IDP families out of three hundred eight nine families brought to Trincomalee district from Vavuniyaa internment camps three weeks ago to be resettled in their villages are still held under detention in transit centres located in four schools under heavy security of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA), sources in Trincomalee said.

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IFJ: Sri Lankan Government Must Reverse Anti-Media Actions

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins press freedom defenders in Sri Lanka in calling on President Mahinda Rajapakse and the Government of Sri Lanka to put an immediate end to the climate of impunity that has allowed a long campaign of intimidation and violence against independent journalism in Sri Lanka.

 The IFJ stands in solidarity with the movement of press freedom organisations and Sri Lankan civil society in demanding that the Government allow space for free public debate, for plurality of opinions and open discussion in Sri Lanka. These conditions are essential for Sri Lanka’s return to peace and democracy.

 The IFJ urges Sri Lanka’s Government to revoke its decision in June to reactivate the 1973 Press Council Act and calls for the immediate release from jail of senior journalist J.S. Tissainayagam, who was convicted on August 31 on charges accusing him of terrorism for the content of his reporting on human rights issues.

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DailyMirror: S.L. Govt uses Israel to soften American Pressure

The report on Sri Lanka’s (SL) war that was to be forwarded to the US Congress has been postponed indefinitely . According to sources in America , this postponement is engendered by the need to garner more information in connection with the report . However , some sources say ,this is the result of a successful ‘Diplomatic operation’  of SL. It is Israel which is being employed to execute this operation . Israel is playing a major role in the operation to soften the American pressure.

Use of Israel by the SL Govt. to ward off the pressures of America is not something new. According to knowledgeable sources , Israel helped SL to stave off the pressures brought to bear on SL by America to halt the war to protect  the civil population during the final phase of the war.

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The Bottom Line: Media unite against re-establishment of Press Council

Re-establishing the Press Council will render the public blind, deaf and dumb, was the message sent out by a collective force of media organisations yesterday as they implemented a petition against the move.

The Conference organised by members of the Sri Lanka Editors Guild, Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, Free Media Movement, Sri Lanka Muslim Journalists Guild, Sri Lanka Tamil Journalists Guild, Association of Media Workers Unions and National Guild of Journalists brought together journalists, politicians and civilians concerned about media freedom to the Jayawardene Centre yesterday.

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Jailed Tissainayagam awarded

October 3, 2009 Comments Off on Jailed Tissainayagam awarded

AFP

Wife of jailed SLankan reporter accepts award

J.S. Tissainayagam, a Tamil reporter and editor serving a 20-year prison sentence in Sri Lanka, was awarded the first Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism on Friday.

His wife, Ronnate Tissainayagam, accepted the award, named for a 30-year veteran of Agence France-Presse who died last year, at a ceremony at the National Press Club.

Tissainayagam was honored by the US branch of Paris-based media rights group Reporters Without Borders and Global Media Forum, a company founded by Mackler to train journalists and non-profit organizations to use the media as a tool for social change.

“For the last 20 years my husband has endeavoured to pursue the goals that Mr. Mackler believed in as a journalist,” Tissainayagam’s wife said.

“Like Peter, my husband was never too busy to encourage those who wanted to learn to write and has helped many in journalism,” she said. “Today my husband is continuing to teach me courage and grace in difficult times.

“For him, no matter what the circumstances are, there is no excuse for unkindness,” Ronnate Tissainayagam said. “No matter what the circumstance, fellow human beings must be treated with dignity.”

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International Bar Association writes on protection of human rights in SL

June 24, 2009 Comments Off on International Bar Association writes on protection of human rights in SL

Sri Lanka: IBAHRI recommends protections for a justice system, legal profession and media in peril
Sri Lanka’s justice system, legal profession and media are all under grave threat, concludes a report published today by the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI). The 155-page report entitled Justice in retreat: A report on the independence of the legal profession and the rule of law in Sri Lanka contains several recommendations to protect the independence of the judiciary, legal profession and media.

Read full report here.

Abuses in Sri Lanka Worry Human Rights Groups

June 23, 2009 Comments Off on Abuses in Sri Lanka Worry Human Rights Groups

National Public Radio : Abuses in Sri Lanka Worry Human Rights Groups
Human rights activists say they’re worried about the future of democracy in Sri Lanka.

Listen to audio here.

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