The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is outraged at the arrest of the owner and staff of a print-shop in Sri Lanka on the eve of an important constitutional amendment debate in the national parliament.
The arrest of the printer of a poster and the holding of his family members to force him to surrender indicates the type of suppression that will be extended to all political activities now within the new presidential order achieved through the completion of the authoritarian system by the passing of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.
NfR expresses its serious concern that a printing press has been sealed, the printer and eight other printing workers have been detained and the printer’s family was taken hostage by the police under the emergency regulations for printing a political poster.
Police investigations have revealed that UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera was behind the printing of a poster defamatory of President Mahinda Rajapaksa which was carried out in a printing press belonging to the JVP.
The Free Media Movement condemns the arrest of the printer, and the owner and workers at Sarala Graphics, Nugegoda
The Free Media Movement considers the arrests of Jayampathi Bulathsinhala: printer, and the owner and workers at Sarala Graphics, Nugegoda to be a gross violation of the rights of freedom of opinion and expression, as well as of the right to peaceful protest and of engaging in a lawful profession.
The news item carried out by media favourable to the government that the printing press that prints ‘Niyamuwa,’ the main organ of the JVP has been sealed is a fabrication spread with malicious intentions said a spokesman for the JVP.
Three suspects, who have been printing anti-government posters at a printing press in the Delkanda area in Nugegoda, have been arrested, said the police.