CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Sri Lanka

2011


Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's savage smokescreen

Sri Lanka's former attorney general Mohan Peiris, who is now the senior legal adviser to the cabinet and who many Sri Lankans say is aiming to become the next Supreme Court Chief Justice, has made conflicting statements about missing journalist Prageeth Eknelygoda. The discrepancies do more than point up the government's indifference to Eknelygoda's fate and the mental anguish of his wife and two sons. Peiris's statements highlight the disregard with which the government views international opinion.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Advice for colleagues on the digital front lines

If you're running a website that's come under attack, or is likely to, here is some advice on how to protect yourself.

First, a little background:

On Monday we filed an alert about the Sri Lankan government's blocking of at least five websites there. The move silenced just about all of the country's independent online voices. Two websites, Groundviews and its sister Sinhala site Vikalpa, have survived a few temporary takedowns, but for now they seem to be about the last two journalism sites posting independent analyses about Sri Lankan politics that are still up and running.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

On 9/11 and post-conflict Sri Lanka

For a few years now, I have used Sugi Ganeshananthan's articles as a frame of reference for CPJ advocacy in Sri Lanka. Ganeshananthan, a novelist and essayist who teaches at the University of Michigan, writes stories often grounded in current events. Her 2008 novel, Love Marriage, addresses the cultural and familial conflicts that Sri Lankans face all over the world.

September 6, 2011 12:30 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Radio Netherlands reporters detail Sri Lanka harassment

Two journalists for Radio Netherlands Worldwide have gone public with their story of Sri Lankan government harassment, which ultimately drove them out of the country last week. The episode had been reported on a few Tamil websites, but I had been unable to confirm the story independently. 

July 20, 2011 3:01 PM ET

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Blog   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Russia, Sri Lanka, UK, USA

Journalists take stage: Q&A with 'Record' playwright

A promotional image for "On the Record," which opens this week at London's Arcola Theatre.

The true stories of journalists from Mexico, Sri Lanka, Russia, the United States, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories will hit the stage July 20 at London's Arcola Theatre. "On the Record," which runs through August 13, examines the careers of six journalists, the risks they face, and their determination to make an impact through their work. This is the latest production by the UK-based Ice and Fire theater company, founded in 2003 to explore human rights stories through performance. Christine Bacon, Ice and Fire's artistic director and co-author of "On the Record," discusses the production's inspiration, messages, and challenges in this CPJ interview. 

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's Groundviews back online after takedown

A note for the Sri Lanka watchers who visit CPJ.org regularly. Sanjana Hattotuwa, the founder of the citizen journalism website Groundviews messaged me this morning to say that the site is up and running again after suddenly going down within Sri Lanka over the weekend. Hattotuwa is the driving force behind the site, which is headquartered at the Center for Policy Alternatives, an independent Sri Lankan think tank.  

June 20, 2011 5:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

BBC coverage of Prageeth Eknelygoda's disappearance

Sandhya Eknelygoda, here with her sons, is still seeking information her missing husband Prageeth. (CPJ)

A short follow-up to yesterday's alert about Sandhya Eknelygoda--"Sri Lankan journalist missing for 500 days"--and her attempts to get assistance from anyone in the Sri Lankan government or at the United Nations to help her learn more about the disappearance of her husband, Prageeth. The BBC's Colombo correspondent Charles Haviland produced a story about Eknelygoda and her two teenage sons, Harith and Sanjay, and puts their story in the context of the other disappearances in Sri Lanka. It's a powerful piece. Follow this link to the BBC story.  

June 9, 2011 4:59 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Ode to a detainee

On May 18, we posted about the stirring letter Sandhya Eknelygoda, wife of detained journalist Prageeth Eknelygoda sent to Sri Lanka's First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa. Check out the link: In Sri Lanka, a mother's plea to the first lady.

May 23, 2011 12:48 PM ET

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Blog   |   Iraq, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka

Video: 'Living in silence: Journalists in exile'

We write a lot at CPJ about the terrible things that happen to journalists because of their reporting, but we don't often get a chance to show you what happens to them after they are forced to flee their homes and land abroad. This video, about three such journalists, is worth watching.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, a mother's plea to the first lady

Sandhya Eknelygoda, here with her sons, is still seeking information her missing husband Prageeth. (CPJ)

As Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa launches a domestic media campaign against U.N. allegations of war crimes since the May 2009 ceasefire, the plight of Sandhya Eknelygoda continues.

May 17, 2011 4:52 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

U.N. vows transparency on Sri Lanka abuses

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Reuters)

The three-person panel of experts on Sri Lanka appointed in 2010 to look into possible war crimes during the decades-long conflict with Tamil secessionists submitted its findings to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday. That report should include the attacks on the news media that have become a reality for journalists working there.

April 13, 2011 1:49 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

UN heard Eknelygoda's cry for help; husband still missing

A cartoon by Prageeth Eknelygoda.

Sandhya Eknelygoda has recently managed to get the attention of the United Nations about the case of the disappearance of her husband, Prageeth, on January 24, 2010. Still, there has been no progress made in learning of his whereabouts. 

March 21, 2011 4:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

U.N. to investigate Prageeth Eknelygoda's disappearance

One of Prageeth Eknelygoda's last cartoons.

Tuesday's letter from CPJ and four other groups to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon apparently had some impact. The Canadian Press reported today that Ban has asked the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNESCO, which oversees press freedom, to look into the case of Prageeth Eknelygoda, a Sri Lankan columnist and cartoonist missing for more than a year.

March 9, 2011 5:30 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Why hasn't the U.N. reached out to Sandhya Eknelygoda?

On February 18, we noted that the United Nations in New York finally said it received a letter from Sandhya Eknelygoda, the wife of missing journalist Prageeth Eknelygoda. Sandhya had given the letter to the U.N. representative in Colombo, Neil Buhne, on January 24, the first anniversary of her husband's disappearance. It was also channeled to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said. 

February 24, 2011 12:21 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Request for help for Prageeth: Lost in the mail?

Finally, there has been some movement in the case of Prageeth Eknelygoda, at left, the Sri Lankan journalist who disappeared on January 24, 2010. The United Nations says it has received a letter from Eknelygoda's wife, Sandhya, that she had handed over to the U.N. representative in Colombo, Neil Buhne, on January 24, the anniversary of his disappearance.  

February 18, 2011 1:50 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Pakistan, Sri Lanka

At Attacks launch: What if governments are perpetrators?

Umar Cheema

When we launched the new edition of Attacks on the Press at the United Nations today, I was hit with questions about Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Both dealt with what amounts to the same problem: What do you do when you're asking a government to investigate a crime in which it might have been the perpetrator? 

The Sri Lanka question came first. What is happening in the case of Prageeth Eknelygoda, a critical cartoonist and columnist who disappeared more than a year ago? The question starts around 17:07 on the U.N.'s archived webcast of the event. The Pakistan question, which starts at around 33:55, addresses the case of Umar Cheema, another critical columnist. Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka get ample coverage in this year's Attacks on the Press.

February 15, 2011 4:50 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Lasantha--journalist, activist, citizen--deserves justice

A drawing of slain editor Lasantha Wickramatunga stands in the lobby of The Sunday Leader. (CPJ)

On January 13, President Mahinda Rajapaksa told Sri Lankan media his government had no evidence to continue an investigation into the murder of Sri Lankan editor Lasantha Wickramatunga. Rajapaksa made this comment in response to a question raised by Lasantha's brother Lal in the presence of about 60 media personnel, including editors, publishers and government ministers, at a customary monthly presidential breakfast. 

Rajapaksa's nonchalance over an investigation he himself publicly promised to initiate in the wake of the murder and amid allegations his government was involved, came just five days after Wickramatunga's family and colleagues commemorated the prominent journalist's second anniversary of his death.

January 19, 2011 3:56 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, press marks a bitter anniversary

The son of missing cartoonist Prageeth Eknelygoda seeks justice at a Colombo rally. (Paba Deshapriya)

In recent years, January has emerged as Sri Lanka's cruelest month for journalists. To commemorate that ugly fact, 100 journalists and press freedom activists gathered Tuesday outside the Fort Railway Station in the capital, Colombo, demanding that the government expedite investigations into a series of attacks and January killings that occurred in both 2009 and 2010. 

January 19, 2011 2:52 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

An appeal to help the family of a disappeared journalist

Sri Lankan cartoonist and political reporter Prageeth Eknelygoda disappeared almost one year ago today. He was last seen leaving the Colombo offices of the political Website Lanka eNews, where he worked, late on the evening of Sunday, January 24, 2010. No one has heard from Eknelygoda since.

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