FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SRI LANKA

For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

Jaffna GA wants SL police to investigate bloggers in Jaffna

[TamilNet] SL Police in Jaffna have filed cases, on behalf of Sri Lankan Government Agent in Jaffna against persons whom she alleges as engaging in a systematic campaign against her. The Judge at the District court of Jaffna, M. Ganesarajah, on Monday instructed the SL Police to investigate the background of two Tamil blogging sites that were mentioned by the SL Police. The write-ups and photos that appeared in the websites characterising Imelda Sugumar as being subjected to pressure from the SL military governor of North have no substance, she claims. Independent civil officials said public persons such as Ms. Sugumar should be prepared for facing such criticism in a civic manner and not engage in exercises threatening even the ‘non-existing’ freedom of speech in the peninsula.

The write-ups appeared following the recent visit by a British Conservative MP, James Wharton, who was accompanied by the new Sri Lankan High Commissioner in UK.

The British MP was only taken to meet selected personalities in Jaffna, including the Bishop of Jaffna in addition to TNA parliamentarians.

Despite Mr. Wharton displaying interest in greeting the public, the visit looked like a ‘guided tour’ by Colombo, civil sources in Jaffna said.

The SL military governor of North, Maj. Gen. G.A. Chandrasri, has been blamed for the arrangements of the sophisticated ‘guided visits’ that seek to promote Colombo’s so-called development of Tamil areas. Such visits intend to camouflage the systematic structural genocide being committed on Eezham Tamils in the name of ‘development’.

A similar trend was observed during the visit by a Canadian delegation on Monday this week.

In the meantime, Tamil civil officials have come under strict scrutiny for meeting foreign diplomats and visitors and are frequently reminded by the authorities in Colombo that foreign diplomats need to acquire permission in advance to meet SL government servants.

At the same time, the Sri Lankan military intelligence has also stepped up harassments, seeking information on civil society representatives who are in touch with foreign diplomats in Colombo.

The SL military establishment has conveyed subtle warnings to certain academics through the administrative hierarchy at the University of Jaffna, informed sources at the university told TamilNet.

Meanwhile, three lecturers and 8 student leaders have been named, allegedly by the SL military operatives, who gave printed death threats through an unknown motorbike squad that entered the premises of the University and put up the posters at various locations.
TN

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