Journalists harassed

DECEMBER 15, 2005—JANUARY 5, 6, 2006

Yarl Thinakkurl
Joy Jeyakumar, Veerakesari
Namathu Eelanaadu


The Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance said Tamil journalists were targeted several times for official harassment. The claims came at a time of rising tensions between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil separatist groups.

On January 6, Sri Lanka military cordoned off and searched the editorial, business, production and administrative offices of the Jaffna Tamil-language daily Yarl Thinakkurl during business hours.

Staff members said the soldiers entered the paper after unidentified men launched a grenade attack on an army sentry. Soldiers unsuccessfully pursued a photographer taking pictures at the scene. Claiming the photographer worked for Yarl Thinakkurl, they searched the paper’s offices, staffers said. The paper continued to publish.

Joy Jeyakumar, senior photographer for the weekly magazine Veerakesari, was summoned January 5 to a Colombo police station and questioned about photographs of the arrest of Tamil residents at a demonstration in Colombo. He was released on the same day.

On December 15, in Jaffna, government troops entered and searched the offices of the Tamil-language daily Namathu Eelanaadu. The newspaper continued to publish.

No arrests were made in any of the incidents. It the first time since February 2002, the start of the cease-fire that halted Sri Lanka’s civil war, that the government has entered and searched journalists’ offices.