Saturday, January 22, 2011

Media activists demand justice for killed, missing journalists

Media activists demand justice for killed, missing journalists

Wednesday 19 Jan 2011

 Sri Lankan journalists and activists protested in Colombo yesterday to draw attention to what they called the government's failure to pursue the perpetrators of crimes against media workers, reported The Canadian Press.

About 100 demonstrators gathered in front of the main railway station in the Sri Lankan capital to protest that no one has been arrested in connection with the killing of a prominent journalist two years ago, the disappearance of another last year and the attack on a television station.

Lasantha Wickrematunge, editor of The Sunday Leadernewspaper, was shot dead in his car by assailants on 8 January 2009. The paper had been critical of the government's conduct in the war against the now-defeated Tamil Tiger rebels and reported on alleged human rights violations and government corruption.

Two days before his killing, armed men attacked privately owned Sirasa television station, with hand grenades and gunfire that started a fire causing heavy damage to its studios.

"Two years have passed since the killing of Lasantha and attack on Sirasa, but the government has failed to bring any culprit before the law and punish them" said Gnanasiri Kottigoda, president of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists' Association.

Prageeth Ekneligoda, a political columnist and cartoonist with, was reported missing and is believed to have been abducted while on his way home from work a year ago.

The government has repeatedly denied any cover-ups and said that it continues to investigate the crimes.

Media rights groups say Sri Lanka is among the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. Amnesty International says at least 14 Sri Lankan media workers have been killed since the beginning of 2006.

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