For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
JOURNALISTS AND MEDIA WORKERS KILLED,
24 January 2006, Subramaniyam Sukirtharajan (Journalist) -
On January 24, Sugirdharajan, a Trincomalee port employee as well as a journalist was shot dead as he waited for a bus to go to work in the morning. He had published photographs and news reports critical of the army and of paramilitary groups active in Trincomalee, in the newspaper Sudaroli Oli. His photographs of the 5 students killed in Trincomalee on January 2 helped contest the original reports that they had been killed by grenades.
Suresh Kumar and Ranjith Kumar – May 3, 2006
As media workers gathered in Colombo to celebrate World Press Freedom Day, a group of unidentified men attacked the office of the Uthayan newspaper in the northern city of Jaffna. Suresh Kumar, the Marketing Manager and Ranjith Kumar, a worker in the circulation department, were killed during this attack. Five others were injured and the office was damaged. The police took 6 persons in custody.
Sampa Lakmal de Silva – July 2, 2006
Freelance journalist Sampath Lakmal de Silva was shot dead by an unknown group. He was abducted at 5.00am from his home in Borallasgamuwa, south of Colombo. His body was found three kilometres from his home.
Marithas Manojanraj – August 1, 2006
Newspaper vendor Marithas Manojanraj was killed by a mine that detonated as he was on his way to Jaffna on July 27 to collect newspapers for distribution.
Sathasivam Baskaran – August 16, 2006
Sathasivan Baskaran, driver and the distributor of the Jaffna-based Uthayan newspaper, was shot dead in his Uthayan delivery vehicle after taking advantage of the temporary lifting of a curfew to deliver copies of the newspaper. He was shot in his clearly marked vehicle in an area controlled by the Sri Lankan armed forces.
Sinnathamby Sivamaharajah – August 21 2006
Sinnathamby Sivamaharajah, managing director of the Jaffna-based Tamil newspaper Namathu Eelanadu, was shot dead in Vellippalai. As a consequence of the murder, the publication of the newspaper was stopped.
Rushika Prasadini ( KILLED IN ACCIDENT ON HER WAY TO WORK)– December 19, 2006
Rukshika Prasadini, a journalist, was injured in a car accident with another vehicle driven by a diplomat. She later died in Colombo as a result of her injuries. Her family is seeking justice for the tragic death; however, they are facing obstacles due to the involvement of diplomatic immunity.
16th April 2007,Subash Chandraboas, (Journalist)
The editor of the Tamil-language monthly magazine “Nilam” (“the Ground”), Subash Chandraboas, aged 32, married and father of an eight-year-old daughter, was shot dead on 16 April 2007 at about 7:30 p.m (local time) at his residence in Thirunavatkulam, Vavuniya.
30th April 2007 , Selvarahj Rajivarnam (journalist)
Selvarahj Rajivarman, journalist of Uthyan daily shot dead on 30th April 2007 in Jaffna. He was the crime reporter, who reported on killings and disappearances taking place in Jaffna.
1st August 2007
Nilakshan Sahadavan (22), a journalist student of Jaffna Media Resource Training Centre (MRTC) and a part time journalists was shot dead this morning by unknown gunmen. Motorbike riding gunmen woke him up at their family home in Kokuvil, Jaffna around 4.00 am and shot him injuring seriously. Kokuvil, just 3 miles away from Jaffna city, is heavily guarded by Sri Lanka military and the shooting took place during the curfew hours.
27th Nov 2007
Isaivizhi Chempiyan alias Subajini, media staff VOT
Suresh Linbiyo, a technical desk worker medial staff VOT
T. Tharmalingam- media staff VOT
SL government jets bombs Voice of Tigers radio station in Kilinocchi around 4.30pm 17th Nov 2007 killing 11 civilians among them were three media workers of VOT.
6TH December 2007, W .Gunasingha (killed in a claymore attack)
Kebithigollewa provincial corresponded of Sinhala daily Divaina, was killed on 6th December when the bus he was travelling was hit by a claymore mine killing 16 people.
28th May 2008, Paranirupasingham Devakumar
Sirasa, Shakthi and MTV Television Network Jaffna district correspondent P. Devakumar was hacked to death om 28th May. in Navanthurei on his way home from Jaffna town. A friend of Devakumar was also killed by in the attack. Devakumar, a resident of Vaddukoddai, Jaffna, was 36 years old and married for one year. He had worked for MTV for nearly three years.
06th October 2008, Rashmi Mohamed
Rashmi, provincial correspondent of Sirasa TV, killed in a explosion while he was covering the opening ceremony of the new office of the United National Party (UNP) in Anuradhapura, close to the old bus stand.The explosion at the ceremony killed more than 20 people including the Leader of the Opposition of the North Central Provincial Council, Major General Janaka Perera, and other leading UNP figures in the area. Nearly 80 people were injured.
08th January 2008, Lasantha Wickrematunga,
Lasantha Wickrematunga chief editor of The Sunday Leader was killed by unknown attacking him with a blunt weapon on his way to work. He was killed at Atthidiya, Dehiwala, south of Colombo at around 10.00 am. The gang followed him from his home was riding four motor bikes. Lasantha Wickrematunga had received number of death threats before his death. He had three children for previous marriage and was married just two weeks ago.
MEDIA WORKERS MISSING OR ABDUCTED
28th Aug 2006 -Nadarajah Guruparan
Director news, Sooriyan FM radio Nadarajah Guruparan is reported to be missing FMM on the morning of 28th August 2006. Sooriyn FM was the popular Tamil language channel of ABC radio net work based in Colombo. He was released after 12 hours, mainly due to intense campaigning by local and international press freedom organisations.
28th Nov 2006 -M.A Sisira Priyankara; M.L.Senaviratna; Nihal Serasinghe
Three activists of the Sri Lanka Railway trade union and its publication ‘Akuna’ were abducted on 5th Feb 2007. the publisher of the newspaper M.A Sisira Priyankara(38), lay-out designer M.L.Senaviratna(35) and another activist Nihal Serasinghe(40) were abducted from suburbs of Colombo. They were later fond in police custody and government accused them of working with LTTE in creating a southern armed group.
February 15, 2007
Subramaniam Ramachandran, -
The correspondent of the Tamil dailies Thinakural and Valampuri was abducted by an unknown group and is feared dead.
18th May 2007
Pakkiyanathan Vijayashanthan alias Vijayan, who had been a journalist and actor, was reported missing on 18th may 2007. He worked for a Tamil daily as a Trincomalee correspondent and later edited Saamadana Nokku, Tamil edition of Peace Monitor, a publication of the Centre for Policy Alternatives up to 2004. he was released early 19th morning, due to intense campaigning by media and HR organizations in the country.
5th November 2007 –
Anthonypillai Sherin Sithranjan
A newspaper delivery person of Jaffna based Tamil daily Yal Thinakkural, Mr. Anthonypillai Sherin Sithranjan was reported missing since 5th November 2007. Mr. Anthonypillai is 36 years old, married and father of one child. He lived at Uyarappulm, Annaikkottai, Jaffna. He went missing after taking papers for distribution from Yarl Thinakkural office in K.K.S Road at 6:00 a.m. on 5th November.
17th November 2007 –
Mr. Vadivel Nimalarajah, proof reader of Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper reported missing since 17th November 2007. He has been with Uthayan newspaper for last three years as night proof reader. Mr. V. Nimalarajah was cycling on his way home when he was abducted by unidentified group near the Navalar Road railway crossing around 7.30 am. He is 31 years old, unmarried and lived at Nicholas Lane, Kachcheri Nallur Road,
30th June 2008 –
Namal Perera ( attempted abduction)
Namal Perera deputy head of the advocacy section of Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) Namal Perera and journalist was assaulted badly by gang of six people who followed him from his office. The assaulters attempted to abduct Mr. Perera, but were resisted. The potential abductors had clearly shouted that it was Mr. Namal Perera they were seeking. He was hospitalised for five days as a result of the injuries he received.
Keith Noyahr, Deputy Editor and Defense analyst of the English weekly The Nation was abducted late evening 22nd May and dropped near his home early 23rd morning, after mercilessly assaulting him. There is no other reason for abducting and assaulting his independent him than his writing and analysis of the war in the North. Hand cupped and blindfolded by the abductors he was asked to revel his military sources.
Upali Tennakoon, (attempted murder)
Upali Tennakoon, chief editor of Rivira Sinhala Weekly was assaulted on his way to work at Imbulgoda, Gampaha. An unknown gang of four riding motor cycles blocked his way and smashed front windscreen of the car and started attacking him with a sharp object. His wife who was with him in the car started shouting and protected him is being attacked. Both of them were admitted to Colombo general hospital with injuries.
MEDIA WORKERS ARRESTED
Sivaramya 1st May 2007
Female journalists and a relief announcer Sivarmya was arrested at the entrance of World press freedom day conference organized by UNESCO in Colombo on 1st May 2007. She was labeled as a suspected suicide carder of LTTE by government media planning to kill a government minister. She was released on 3rd after representations by UNESCO and local media organizations. Later she filed a FR case against the government at Supreme court and wan the case.
Tiran Alles – 30th May 2007
The Chairman of Standard Newspapers Ltd. and former Civil Aviation Authority Chairman Tiran Alles was remanded on the 30th of May till June 13. The Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) earlier visited Mr. Alles at a hospital where he was undergoing treatment and arrested him around 6.45 pm after questioning. He was released without any charges after three months.
Rangan – 02nd Dec. 2007
A journalist with the Tamil daily Sudaroli, Ranga, was arrested in a cordon and search by the Rajagiriya Police and detained for 12 hours. He was released after representations made to the Police by the newspaper and the FMM. No charges were brought against Ranga by the police.
Capucine Henri, C. Siomon – 24th Dec. 2007
Two French journalists detained by the military over a videoing a road block was kept in Police custody over Christmas night in the Rathgama police station, in Galle district. The TV crew of female journalist Capucine Henri and cameraman C. Siomon of the France 24 news-channel were filming a Tamil family visiting their detained relatives on Christmas eve. They were released without any charges on 26th evening after 43 hours.
Arthur Wamanan – 24rd Oct. 2007
The Sunday leader journalist Arthur Wamanan (23) was arrested by Criminal Investigating Department (CID) on a complaint lodged by Minister Mano Wijeratne on 24th Oct. Arthur had called the minister to obtain his comments using his mobile telephone with regard to a story. Mr. Wijeratna complained that he received calls demanding ransom from the journalist. On 26th journalist Arthur Wamanan was granted bail and court reprimanded the CID saying arrests of this nature created a bad precedent besides being a threat to media freedom.
Gemunu Amarasinghe – 12th February
On 12 February 2008, Gemunu Amarasinghe, a photojournalist working for Associated Press (AP), was arrested by Civil Defense Committee members while he was covering students entering Isipathana College, Colombo. He was doing a photo story on the reopening of schools after their being closed for a week. He was handed over to the police by members of the Civil Defense Committee and taken to the Narahenpita police station. He was released nearly two hours later after intervention by media institutions and organizations.
N. Jasiharan, V, Varmathi J.S. Tissainayagam, – 6th & 7th March 2008
Number of journalists were taken in for questioning on 7th and 8th of March with some of them held incommunicado for hours by Terrorist Investigation Department (TID). Most of the journalists arrested were associated with http://www.outreachsl.com, a news and features web site. On 6th March, E-Kwality printing press owner and writer N. Jasiharan was arrested with his partner Valarmathi without any valid reason. On 7th March, the TID arrested the Editor of http://www.outreachsl.com and freelance journalist, J.S Tissainayagam . Both of them are still in custody. J.S Tissainayagam has filed a FR case against he government at Supreme Court.
K. Wijesinghe, Uthayanan, Ranga Lasantha – 7th & 8th march 2008
Journalists K.Wijesinghe, Camaramen Ranga Lasanatha, and visual editor Unyanan of http://www.outreachsl.com were arrested on 7th and 8th and they were release on 13th without any charges being made against them.
Wasanthan Sivakumaran, 8th March 2008
S. Sivakumar (alias Balasubramanium Wasanthan) , Spokesperson of the FMM and Editor of the bi-monthly Tamil language Sarinihar magazine was arrested, questioned by Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) and released on the same day. On 7th March TID took one of his cousins into hostage till he appeared at his office.
A.R.Vaama Loshan,14th October 2008
A.R.Vaama Loshan (32) General Manager of Vettri FM Radio (Tamil Radio station) was arrested by the Terrorism Investigations Division on 14th Nov 2008. He worked as radio journalists for nearly 10 years before joining Vettri FM in early 2008. He was released on 22nd same month without any charges.
22nd January 2009
Prakash Shakthi Velupillai
Government defence spokesperson Minister Rambukwella stated that journalist named Prakash Shakthi Velupillai was arrested at Colombo airport on January 22 on suspicion of working for LTTE.
Susanthi Thambirasa,- 27th March 2008 relief announcer released after 18 months
Susanthi Thambirasa, who had been arrested on the charge of being a LTTE suicide bomber nearly one-and-a-half year ago, was freed by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court on Mar. 27th. Earlier on January 31st, the Attorney General informed the Court of Appeal that there was no objections to her release. A resident of Ampara, Susanthi was arrested along with journalist M. Parameswary near Savoy Cinema in Wellawatte on 23rd November 2006. At the time of her arrest, Susanthi was a relief announcer at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and also worked at Sunera Foundation, an NGO.