For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
The Center for Human Rights (CHR) Sri Lanka releasing a press release emphasis that attacks and the degree of intimidation on Jaffna media have rapidly increased, during the past few days.
The members of the editors attached to Yarl Thirukkal news paper informs that during the early hours on 27 November 2010 (today), a mob carrying rods and clubs have gathered opposite the road access to the press office, and lingered over one hour. It is noted by editors who were stationed at the press office, at the time of the incident, that a group of five to six masked men under cover by a guest, who has come to seek lodging at the Tirukal Inn, were responsible for this behavior. It is questioned by the editors: how come such mobs infiltrated Jaffna town area, which is apparently a High Security Zone?
Furthermore, a letter of intimidation was distributed amongst the Jaffna news paper officers, on 25 Nov 2010. Witnessing this unethical development in the region, Udayan and Yal Thinakuaral papers on 26 November 2010 and Sudoli news paper on 27 November 2010 publicized this particular letter of intimidation in their respective papers.
It is indeed noteworthy, that news papers published in Jaffna during the past few years were surrounded with the same cloud of intimidation, such as: threatening media personal, anonymous calls to press offices, burning of news papers, attacks on news paper distributors and killing of news paper agents are amongst some of the outstanding incidences, which Yal Thirukal paper was compelled to face.
In addition, the attack on parliamentarian Sunil Handunnetthi and the supporters in Jaffna, distribution of threatening letters, and an intimidation of a media person from Yarl Thirukkal in Kayts have been reported during the past 10 days.
The Center for Human Rights categorically stresses that in order to establish democracy and social integration in the post conflict scenario in Jaffna, it is vital to ensure press freedom as one of the key factors. CHR further demands the intervention of all responsible authorities to safe guard and ensure the security of journalists, distribution of papers, news paper printing gents, in order to uplift the rights of the civil society.
27 November 2010 Mobile: 0777 791225