For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
South Asia Media Solidarity Network and the IFJ continue to monitor the progress of the Sri Lankan Government’s promised full and unconditional presidential pardon for journalist J.S. Tissainayagam.
The Colombo High Court today ordered that journalist Susil Kindelpitiya be released on surety bail in Rs. 50,000.
An application has been filed for the withdrawal of an appeal filed by Senior Journalist J. S. Tissainayagam to process the Presidential pardon granted to him on the World Press Freedom Day on May 3.
CPJ has launched a new report, In Sri Lanka, No Peace Dividend for Press. It takes a close look at the media in Sri Lanka, one year after the government declared a decisive victory over Tamil secessionists that ended 30 years of bitter, often genuinely suicidal ethnic conflict.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges Sri Lanka’s Government to speed up its processing of a full and unconditional presidential pardon for senior Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainayagam
Two weeks had gone but formalizing the Presidential Pardon granted to senior journalist J. S. Tissainayagam is yet to be finalized. Jailed journalist J. S. Tissainayagam who is on bail is still awaiting the completion of the legal procedure to obtain the President’s pardon issued on him officially.
“Tissainayagam’s pardon is clearly an act of Sri Lanka’s international diplomacy, an act made possible by the complete absence of the rule of law as an operating principle in its legal system,” writes a columnist in the Tamil Guardian newspaper.
Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister, G.L. Peiris, announced at a press conference last week that President Mahinda Rajapakse had decided to grant a pardon to journalist J.S. Tissanayagam to mark World Press Freedom Day.
Senior journalist J. S Tissainayagam remains incognito – hiding in a safe house, despite a Presidential pardon, according to close family members.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is awaiting details and verification that senior Sri Lankan journalist J.S. Tissainayagam will receive a full presidential pardon for his conviction on charges of “causing communal disharmony”.
The missing journalist Prageeth Ekniligoa of Lanka E-News since January 24 is being held under unlawful custody or detention with the knowledge of police officers, stated in a Habeas Corpus application filed by his wife Mrs. K.M.S.P.Ekniligoda and his two children S.S.Bandara Ekniligoda and H.D.Sooriya Ekniligoda in the Court of Appeal.
Police in Sri Lanka say they have released 17 soldiers detained on suspicion of killing or attempting to kill journalists and editors.
The Colombo Magistrate yesterday allowed the TID to further detain the two suspects arrested in connection with the murder of Sunday Leader editor. Lasantha Wickrematunga, the abduction, intimidation and attempted murder of The Nation’s former deputy editor Keith Noyahr and attacks on and attempted murder of Rivira chief editor, Upali Tennakoon.
Police have been allowed to further detain and question journalist Ruwan Weerakoon and four others, who face a charge of conspiring against the state.
A BAHRAIN resident has been arrested in Sri Lanka after converting to Islam and writing two books in Sinhalese allegedly offensive to the spiritual leader of Buddhism.
A Sri Lankan Tamil has been named foreign journalist of the year at the British Press Awards in London. JS Tissainayagam was arrested in 2008 and sentenced to 20 years in jail for inciting racial disharmony in his magazine. He was bailed in January.
The British Press Awards have for more than 30 years celebrated the best journalism from the national press.
Lanka News Web reported earlier this month that “state intelligence units have drawn up a list of names of active journalists and NGOs [non government organisations]” and categorised them according to a points system. While the full list has not been published, those named are connected to organisations and media outlets critical of President Mahinda Rajapakse and his government.
The law provides for freedom of speech and of the press but in practice this was not always supported. The government owned the country’s largest newspaper chain, two major television stations, and a radio station.
Sri Lankan media groups Thursday protested against the arrest of a reporter close to Sarath Fonseka, the detained ex-army chief who tried to unseat the president in recent elections.