For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
NfR – Net working for rights in Sri lanka – Exile network for media and human rights in Sri Lanka
Press release/ 15 April 2011
Networking for Rights reiterates its call to government authorities to reign in those who continue to terrorise journalists and other activists who support human rights and freedom of expression.
It is disheartening that no genuine action has been taken against the arson attack on Lanka e-news. Instead, intimidation by way of arresting its Editor and harassment continues. NfR is deeply concerned that the Lanka e-news lawyer Manjula Pathiraja has been informed by a police officer known to him that it would not be in Pathiraja’s interest to appear for Lanka e-news.
Further, NfR takes serious note of the threats made to UNP Provincial Councillor and lawyer Shiral Lakthilaka, who appeared for Lanka e-news, and also provided office space to Lanka e-news following the arson attack on the website’s office. The threat made by phone had allegedly occurred on April 7, 2011, the day, the Lanka e-news Editor, Bennet Rupasinghe was granted bail. This has been followed by a warning notice pasted on Lakthiilaka’s office gate, where the Lanka e-news office too is now located in Rajagiriya. The translation of the notice titled “Let us carry forward the sacred struggle” is given below.
” Based on needs of foreign forces and NGO Tiger agents, Lanka e-news Sinhalese Tigers are provoking anger and hatred among patriots by betraying the great victory of the motherland that was achieved at the cost of tens of thousands of lives of patriots. We have the sacred duty of destroying lawyers and NGO’s who continue to represent, help, encourage and protect these traitors. We are ready to destroy these Sinhala Tigers wherever they happen to be in the nation. Let us carry forward the sacred struggle”
NfR wishes to bring to mind that several attacks on journalists and activists including murder took place in the past following similar threats and branding of individuals who have the courage to speak out against human rights abuses as traitors. It is disconcerting that this regime continues to turn a blind eye to such atrocities and its apathy leads only to one conclusion; that these acts of violence are being carried out with the connivance of the authorities.
NfR calls upon all Sri Lankans to band together to protest all human rights abuses and hold the regime accountable for this cycle of violence.
Issued by Steering Committee, NfR Sri Lanka
Steering committee : Kshama Ranawana ( Canada) Lionel Bopage ( Australia), Nadarasa Sarawanan (Norway), Nadarajah Kuruparan(UK) Padmi Liyanage (Germany), Raveendran Pradeepan (France), Rudhramoorthy Cheran (Canada), Saman Wagaarachchi ( USA), Sunanda Deshapriya ( Switzerland)