CPJ responds to Sri Lankan defense secretary

In response to Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s public comments disavowing any official responsibility for attacks on Sri Lankan journalists and warning international broadcasters they will be “chased away” for a reporting bias against the government, we issued this statement…

“Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s recent statements in the Sri Lankan press and on the BBC are part of the government’s media offensive to silence critics inside and outside of the country,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Foreign and local journalists are right to be concerned about these attempts to intimidate the media.”

Dietz has just returned from a week in Sri Lanka investigating reports of attacks on journalists. He is quoted extensively today in a CNN.com story examining the media climate in Sri Lanka.