FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SRI LANKA

For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

Media workers of leading Tamil newspaper locked out .

In a major blow to free media staff members of the Colombo based Thinakkural Tamil news paper have been barred from entering the workplace on Tuesday.

This follows the News Editor, Editor-in- Chief of the Sunday Thinakkural, Deputy News Editor, Senior Editorial Assistants and several journalist and media workers of Thinakkural news paper being forced to resign by the administration of Thinakural publications taken over recently by Virakesari publications.

However, the Vice President of Sri Lanka Tamil Media Association (SLTMA) has informed media organisations that twenty three staff members have disagreed to resign from Thinakkural.

Thinakkural staff found that they were locked out when they went to office for their routine work on Wednesday morning. Following the shocking incident, staff members lodged a complaint at the Labor Department and the Modera Police station.

Labour Commissioner of Colombo North called Thinakkural editorial staff and Thinakkural administration for an investigation. However, Thinakkural administration did not attend. Therefore, the commissioner who received the complaint from the editorial staff had called for the administration to attend the investigation on Thursday at 10.30 am.

Thinakkural established in 1997, is known to have functioned relatively independently, despite state and state sponsored paramilitary’s threat against its journalists. Recently, Thinakkural’s majority share and good will was bought by Virakeasari, which is another leading Tamil news paper in Sri Lanka. Thinakkural is considered as a prominent voice of Tamil national struggle.

– JDS News

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