For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
After two years of war and claims that Colombo has resettled civilians in Vanni, remote areas of the mainland still remain prohibited for Tamil journalists. Sri Lankan military intelligence officers and operatives systematically harass the journalists who visit the areas beyond the ‘A9 comfort zone’ of the occupying SL military. Meanwhile, harassment by SL military-led administration has increased in the Jaffna peninsula. On Friday, a 28-year-old reporter in Jaffna, A. Daniel, was taken to SL police station in Jaffna and questioned for 3 hours by the SL police, allegedly for exposing SL military governor not allowing the Jaffna GA for a separate meeting as scheduled with the British Conservative MP James Wharton, who was taken on a guided tour to Jaffna with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London.
Althoguh the visiting British parliamentarian, who attempted to freely converse with and greet the people of Jaffna, there was no space for the civil society or Tamil officials to interact with him independently, civil sources in Jaffna said.
The reports that even the Sri Lankan Government Agent in Jaffna with ‘high-ranking alignment’ with SL presidential sibling Basil Rajapaksa, was not ‘trusted’ by the military governor of the North, have irked several quarters, also making the SLGA in Jaffna uncomfortable with the public exposure of the trend.
Meanwhile, media circles in Jaffna said that the journalists visiting Vanni are harassed by the SL military intelligence operatives who question the journalists why they have come there and whom they are contacting. Confronted with such harassments, the reporters often drop the idea of exposing anything from the places they visit fearing reprisals to their contacts or themselves, the media sources further said.
No independent reporters or journalists are able to station themselves inside Vanni where structural genocide continues unabated the same way the genocidal war without witnesses was waged by Colombo in 2009.