For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
The pro-Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) newspaper Lanka was sealed by CID detectives yesterday – while world media rights groups expressed alarm over attacks on journalists and the free media after the presidential election.
Secretary general of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon has once again appealed to Sri Lanka’s political parties to exercise restraint and abide by the laws of the land. His associate spokesman Farhan Haqm has told the media that the UN chief was aware of developments on the ground in the island.
The Sri Lankan government should immediately end its post-election harassment of media outlets and ensure protection of journalists from attack, Human Rights Watch said today.
Since the presidential election on January 26, 2010, Sri Lankan authorities have detained and questioned several journalists, blocked news websites, and expelled a foreign journalist. At least one journalist has been assaulted and several have been threatened. President Mahinda Rajapaksa was re-elected to a second term in the hotly contested election.
The “Lanka” newspaper office was sealed a short while ago by CID personnel acting on a Court order.
Officers attached to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) who had previously arrested the editor of the “Irida Lanka” newspaper, Chandana Sirimalwatte, have tried to break into his residence a short while ago. According to initial reports, the officers who had visited his residence tried to search the premises without a search warrant.