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Law and order: A point to ponder - Editorial

3 February 2014 01:47 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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It was a shocking Sunday morning for Sri Lanka’s journalistic fraternity. News crept in slowly that former Sunday Times and AFP journalist Mel Gunasekera had been killed in cold blood at her residence in Battaramulla while her family was attending the Sunday morning mass at the nearby church.

The investigations are currently proceeding and as such we shouldn’t arrive at any premature conclusions. But Sri Lanka has not been a safe place for working journalists. A number of prominent journalists have been murdered in broad-daylight while the perpetrators of these dastardly crimes have just vanished into thin air.
Ms. Mel was a widely respected business journalist and at the time of her death she was working for the local unit of the international credit rating agency -- Fitch Ratings Lanka. Whether for professional reasons or otherwise, she was the 18th journalists to be killed during the past seven years.

Scepticism aside, Ms. Mel’s killing appears to be a tragic example of the lawlessness and the social and political degradation the country has plunged into. Crime has become a commonplace. Some allege that the government is not taking any measures against the crime wave that is so blatantly sweeping the country, because most of the crimes are allegedly committed by the grass root politicians of the ruling party or their henchmen.

When the killing of a British national in Tangalle hit the headlines, the authorities tried to portray it as an ‘isolated incident’. The suspect, who is a provincial politician of the ruling regime, carried on his political work without any obstruction despite public outcry and international pressure. It is only now that the authorities appear to be trying to take action against the suspect as the incident signals increasingly negative connotations for the government at the upcoming UNHRC Sessions in Geneva.
The killing at Battaramulla is not just a single incident. On a day to day basis, we are witnessing killings, rapes and all kinds of abusive incidents against women and children.

With the end of the war, everybody breathed a sigh of relief thinking that the era of blood and fear was over. But the tragic and untimely death of our own Ms. Mel seems to be telling us an altogether different story.
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  • Raja Monday, 03 February 2014 12:47 PM

    According to the statistics shown on the website of "Committee to protect Journalists", most journalists had died in the crossfire during conflicts or suicide bombers etc Other than Lasantha Wicremasinghe, and Richard Zoysa, most deaths have been accidental or committed prior to 2009 by the LTTE.
    As for the latest killing, the police has already arrested a house painter who worked in Ms Gunesekara's home about three months ago.
    Facts being thus, your editorial seems to be pointing the finger at an innocent party, the sri Lankan security forces. Is this good journalism.


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