For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene
Corruption, one might say, is as old as politics itself in Sri Lanka. So indeed is disregard for the Constitution by those in power. We are all familiar with the breathtakingly ingenious ways in which each constitutional document of the day was sought to be twisted, subverted and manipulated by astute legal minds at various periods to suit political or even personal agendas.
Yet, even with this undeniably complex history behind us and familiar as we are with dynastic political rule, some distinguishing factors mark the current political regime as dangerously different from any of its predecessors. To be quite clear, this is not simply to focus on the Rajapaksa siblings, in-laws, sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, cousins and relatives, (not once removed but perchance twenty times removed from the seat of Presidential power) placed at different levels of political or financial power.
Leon Berenger reports
Election observers are coming out strongly over police failure to maintain law and order ahead of the January 26 Presidential election, as reports of polls-related intimidation and violence continue to come in from around the country.
Election laws are being openly flouted despite repeated orders from the Elections Commissioner’s Office, according to Rohana Hettiarachchi, executive director of the independent polls monitoring group, People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL). He said reports of irregularities are coming in at an alarming rate, especially from the South.
By Chandani Kirinde
Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake is yet to make the formal appointment of a Competent Authority to monitor the state-run electronic media during the Presidential election campaign despite assurances he has given to opposition political parties.
At least 29 journalists have fled Sri Lanka last year to stay alive due to the repressive nature of the country. The Paris based media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontiers said in its year end review last week that these journalists chose to flee their country to escape prison or death.
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
The Office of the Special Task Force (STF) Commandant has distributed a leaflet on December 9, 2009 calling on all STF personnel to vote for President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the forthcoming presidential election.
Commanding Officer of the STF on December 11, 2009 had ordered the Senior Superintendent of Police (Personnel) to send a copy of the leaflet to every STF camp in the country.
(Lanka-e-News 02.Jan.2010 7.45PM) UPFA Film and Arts Chairman Somaratne Dissanayake speaking at a debate over the television channel said, President Mahinda Rajapakse will go all out to curb the private … Continue reading
A total of four propaganda offices belonging to the opposition’s common candidate General (retd.) Sarath Fonseka were put to the torch in separate incidents at Hambantota last night.
The attacks which were carried out by suspected pro-government goons were carried out in the villages of Wettiya Handiya, Hungama, Ranagodamune, Barawakkumbura and Abeysekeragama all in the Hambantota district, Mr. Rohana Hettiarachchi with the monitoring group PAFFREL said.