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RSF writes to MR on media

30 January 2010 03:56 am - 39     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


The Paris based media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa asking him to put a stop to arrests and intimidation of journalists working for privately-owned and foreign media.

“This wave of post-election violence could cast a lasting stain on the start of President Rajapaksa’s second term and bodes ill for the political climate during the coming years,” Reporters Without Borders said.

Reporters Without Borders also reminds the president of the statements in support of press freedom that he has made on many occasions, including a meeting with a Reporters Without Borders representative in October 2008.

“It is quite normal for journalists and privately-owned media to side with a candidate before and during a democratic election but it is unacceptable for them to the victims of reprisals once the elections are over,” the press freedom organisation added.

Police and unidentified groups have been targeting the media, especially media that supported the leading opposition candidate, Gen. Sarath Fonseka, every since the announcement of the result, which some opposition sectors including Fonseka are disputing. Sri Lanka’s five main journalists’ organisations have issued a joint statement condemning the “post-election media suppression.”

The following serious press freedom violations have been reported:

1.    Police today arrested Chandana Sirimalwatta, the editor of Lanka, a newspaper that supports the JVP opposition party, after he responded to a summons for questioning about an article published on 26 January. The president’s brother, defence minister Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, threatened to burn the newspaper down a few days ago.
2.    Plain-clothes men using a car with the license plate 32/ 84 32 placed seals yesterday evening over the entrance to the office of the Lankaenews website. Men searched the office earlier in the day. The website itself has been rendered inaccessible for the past few days by the state telecommunications company Sri Lanka Telecom.
3.    In an interview for the Colombo-based Daily Mirror newspaper yesterday, Tamil government minister Douglas Devananda threatened the Jaffna-based newspaper Uthayan with unspecified reprisals.
4.    Reporter Karin Wenger of the Swiss public radio station DRS is facing possible deportation on 1 February following the withdrawal of her press accreditation. “I had a visa and accreditation that were valid for the election,” she told Reporters Without Borders. “I think this decision is linked to the questions I asked an official during a news conference after the results were announced.” A presidential adviser referred to her insultingly as a “white face.”
5.    Ravi Abewikrama, a reporter with state radio broadcaster SLBC was attacked yesterday by one of the station’s officials for criticising the biased election coverage imposed by the head of the station.
6.    Soldiers took up position on 26 January around and inside the buildings that house two privately-owned TV stations, Sirasa and Swarnavahini, in Colombo.
7.    Soldiers roughed up photographers working for foreign news agencies when they tried to attend a news conference given by Gen. Fonseka yesterday. One was forced to delete the photos on his camera’s memory card. Soldiers also prevented journalists from working freely near a hotel being used by Fonseka the previous day.
Reporters Without Borders finally also urges President Rajapaksa to assign more police officers to the search for political reporter and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda, who has been missing since 24 January. His family has had no news of him since that date.

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  Comments - 39

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  • Saturday, 30 January 2010 09:40 AM

    looks like media freedom issue is getting escalated watch out MR. ball is on your side now

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 06:32 AM

    Very good warning !!!! we respect your good move. Please monitor over this issue carefully and take appropriate action.

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 07:14 AM

    What's the use? MR is the executive president who is above the law. Think he will listen to Reporters??

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 08:02 AM

    uhhh Earth to Duminda eht so called law r u taliking about!!! Last wht i heard was tht there is no Law!!!

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 08:04 AM

    u insane

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 08:06 AM

    we have been hearing these promises which were never fullfilled by this Govt 4 5 years!!!

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 08:14 AM

    God knows whom to punish and when

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 08:27 AM

    Who the hell do you think you are, RSF to write to the President of Sri Lanka? This is our country and we'd do whatever that's needed for our country ourselves. So, stay away! Go to Afghanistan and Iraq and write to whatever president you like. Sri Lanka had NOT invaded any other country and killed, maimed any inhabitants of any other country. So, stay away!

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 08:47 AM

    Criticizing is normal in any country. Have u seen US elections? but did u see what the state media did in this period? Do u accept that? Hate campaign started by the state media simply because they got scared of SF being the president. In this whole campaign, SF had very few jounalists supporting him. I think you are bit carried away with the win. We will see what will happen in the coming years.

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 09:16 AM

    The govt. has got its tail right up. It will not listen to or tolerate criticism. Thuggery will continue unchallenged, as these are the qualities that brought victory at the election for President and all the cheats, humbugs,mafia, coyotes and scum are with govt. So, sadly for Sri Lanka the govt. will win the general election too with 60%.

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 06:20 AM

    Used to be freedom fighter - but now...

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 10:20 AM

    You like to be a frog in the well - only hear and see what you want to hear and see. No future that way.

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 10:37 AM

    what r the wrong facts ? get out Chandler !

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 10:38 AM

    RSF why haven't you written to Britain. Tony Blair is guilty of going to war in Iraq. We heard the man face the Chilcot Enquiry. There were no WMD's but Blair agreed to go to war nearly an year before invading. He has no regrets with the war which killed 700,000 Iraqis as reported in one newspaper. RSF before you write to Sri Lanka who fought the terrorists, why dont you write to UK first as people are wanting to get Balir to Hague for war criminal charges. RSF first things first.

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 10:48 AM


    Saturday, 30 January 2010 10:48 AM

    # let time to decide. no body can escape from gods court

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 11:24 AM

    Well that war was with the tamil terrorists. No one complained when the terrorist suicie bombers killed many civilians. What o you say to that?

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 11:31 AM

    the people have the rite to noe wat is going on in the country without th lies wev bn fed by the politicians rite now.....and is it polite to roughen up internation journalist wen they simply come to cover the elections...which if carried out in a free and fair way, non of this would have happend

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 11:34 AM

    this is what Hitler said Mr.Sarath, but when UK and US hammered him its not only the stupid leader and friends got hammered, the entire country and people got effected

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 11:39 AM

    Did you say "Hate Campaign" Nicky? Wasn't is the State Media who carried out a "Worse than Hate Campaign" against SF? Wasnt it the State Media who never allowed the electronic media to give any coverage to SF? Wasn't it the State Media who until the night of the day before election carry on campaigning for their master the incumbant President in the most blatant and arrogant manner? Are you living in Sri Lanka or some other planet Nicky? Get real man!

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 05:25 AM

    Meedia Freedom Should be limited as... EVERYBODY SHOULDN'T KNOW EVERY THING !.

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 04:30 AM

    How come RSF forget to mentioned Lasantha's murder investigation which is one year Old now. What is other Mahinda ( IGP) doing about it?

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 04:31 AM

    Unfortunately many brainwashed people in Sri Lanka will interpret this statement as "western conpsiracy" which is what the govt wants.

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 04:32 AM

    Artificial result can be crated deforme mentality of people’s and country situation

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 04:50 AM

    What these guys are asking wild ass freedom for journalist who are prostituing their noble profession! This is worst than the fundemetalist Taliban demand to carry on their hate campaign against SL and destory the country's soul. Tell me a one country which allow to destory its own existence by this type of hate campaign by so-called independent journalist naming themself as journalist without boders or rightly name vultures without cultures or ethics and morals of their profession?

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 04:51 AM

    This is Sri Lanka,
    RSF or anyoneone can say whatever they want but SL should not listen to those things. SL must stand by its own postion. Everyone must respect and follow the due rules if they are in sri lanka. Those who do not respect or act irresponsible must be deported and if local must be arreseted.
    Sri Lanka does not need always advisers only needs friends specially Western countries.

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 04:57 AM

    I hope these days RSF are short of funds. (NGO money). Will see more statement will come in future. They also have to live their luxury lives know. RSF, don't biased, talk always both sides of the coin. more stories means more money for you all know.

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 04:59 AM

    shame on sri lanka governent. The world is watching the way they treat our hero general sarath fonseka

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 04:59 AM

    R-SF , Suba anagathayak , Our President may not like you since u have a SF tag in ur name.

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 05:16 AM

    It is time these people with no proper job to perform to mind their own business and let our country prosper.We were able to destroy the most ruthless terrorist organization despite attempts by many so called powers trying to save the leaders of this outfit.Asa such we do not need the advice of these people.Our democracy is one of the oldest democracies in this prt of the world.So mind your own business.

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 04:10 AM

    Crap!!! let the LAW deal with these issues. Media should take full responsibility on what they publish if not they have to face the consequences. MEDIA PEOPLE ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW!!!!

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 05:27 AM

    Ibbagen pihaatu illanna wage

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 05:36 AM

    Sooner we will be known as 'Sriran' or 'Sriyanmar' or 'Srimbabwe'. I cry for my motherland.

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 05:38 AM

    H.E in you election campaign you main complain against SF was that he is a military leader and if SF wins entire country will comes under military ruling.......... Now see twhat is happeniong. 6 million ppl voted for you not to do this. ... Now don't ask Wimal narivansa to tell me that i am also a "Antharjathika balavegavala Iththek" kiyala.....

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 06:07 AM

    Stupid. Do not ask a cat to guard the milk.

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 06:15 AM

    get out RSF.

    Get your facts right and verified before making any allegations and working for Pro-Western UNP.

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 06:16 AM

    Nothing to worry, media freedom will be given as per the extended Chinthanaya

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 06:18 AM

    Boru vikara.

    Saturday, 30 January 2010 06:19 AM

    Rajathuma ahaida mewa...

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