For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
January 26, 2011 /By ucanews.com reporter, Colombo
Priests, journalists and artists in Sri Lanka have accompanied a woman to appeal to the United Nations office in Colombo to help find her missing husband.
Prageeth Ekneligoda, a journalist and political analyst, disappeared in Colombo on Jan. 24 last year. The missing journalist had written about the country’s political situation, lawlessness, corruption and nepotism.
“One government minister assured us that he would find the missing journalist within one week but after one year we are still looking for him,” Anglican Father Marimuthupillai Sathivel told ucanews.com yesterday as the group handed the petition letter to Neil Buhne, the UN resident coordinator in Sri Lanka.
The UN can intervene in this issue as Sri Lanka is a member of the world body, he said.
The parish priest of St. Michael’s Church in Colombo said the Church has for decades been trying to find justice and resolve with the government the issue of missing journalists.
Sandhya Ekneligoda, wife of the missing journalist, urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to intervene in her husband’s case and influence the Sri Lankan government to conduct a credible inquiry.
She said the disappearance has traumatized their two children who still wait for their father’s return.
In Sri Lanka, 14 journalists including Christians have been murdered within the past two decades, with 12 of them in the past five years. Some journalists have been imprisoned and many have left the country.
Meanwhile, international writers Noam Chomsky and Arundhati Roy have called on authors to boycott the Galle Literary Festival (GLF) being held in Sri Lanka from Jan. 26-30.
Attending the festival that brings together world writers and readers for free and open discussions about culture, literature, history, and politics would justify Sri Lanka’s oppression of free expression, they said.