Sri Lanka / Asia

Journalists attacked in Sri Lanka since 1992

  

Sri Lankan authorities seize reporter Dharisha Bastians’ laptop in home raid

New York, June 18, 2020 – Sri Lankan authorities should immediately return journalist Dharisha Bastians’ computer and allow her to report without fear of official harassment, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On June 9, officials from the Criminal Investigation Department raided Bastians’ home in Colombo, the capital, and seized her laptop in connection…

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People protest Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa outside his office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on February 11, 2020, demanding investigations into disappearances during the civil war. Journalists are wary of the Rajapaksa brothers' return to power. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)

Sri Lankan journalists turn to self-censorship under Rajapaksas as hope for justice fades

Nadesapillai Vithyatharan is a rare survivor, one of the few journalists abducted during Sri Lanka’s civil war who lives to tell the story.

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Security personnel are seen in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on November 17, 2019. Journalists were recently attacked and interrogated throughout Sri Lanka. (AFP/Jewel Samad)

Journalists beaten by unidentified groups, interrogated by police in Sri Lanka

New York, December 16, 2019 — Sri Lankan authorities must thoroughly investigate several recent attacks against journalists, hold those responsible to account, and ensure that journalists can report freely in the country, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

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Army officers are seen in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on January 31, 2019. The Sri Lankan army recently reinstated an officer suspected in multiple attacks against journalists. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)

Sri Lankan army reinstates official suspected in Lasantha murder, other attacks

New York, May 15, 2019 — The Committee to Protect Journalists today expressed alarm that a Sri Lankan military intelligence official–who, according to news reports and court documents, is linked to attacks on at least three journalists–was restored to active duty.

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Priests are seen in the background as security personnel stand guard in front of St Anthony's shrine on April 29, 2019, days after a string of suicide bomb attacks across the island on Easter Sunday killed hundreds. (Reuters/Danish Siddiqui)

Social media still blocked in Sri Lanka following terror attack

Several social media sites remained blocked in Sri Lanka today, according to NetBlocks, an independent, international civil society group that monitors internet censorship. Sri Lankan authorities blocked the sites, along with several messaging apps, throughout the country on April 21, following a terrorist attack that left more than 253 people dead, according to international news…

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A memorial for Sri Lankan newspaper editor Lasantha Wickramatunga is seen in Colombo on January 15, 2009. Today, a California court unsealed a civil lawsuit against former Sri Lankan Defense Minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a dual U.S.-Sri Lankan citizen, seeking damages for his alleged involvement in the killing. (Reuters/Buddhika Weerasinghe)

Civil case filed in US over murder of Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga

Washington, D.C., April 15, 2019 — Today, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, in Los Angeles, unsealed a civil lawsuit against former Sri Lankan Defense Minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a dual U.S.-Sri Lankan citizen, seeking damages for his alleged involvement in the 2009 killing of journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga,…

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In this screenshot from Groundviews' YouTube channel, an opposition politician shows a photo of journalist Dharisha Bastians to a press conference.

Sri Lankan politicians try to intimidate journalists over New York Times report

Washington, D.C., July 3, 2018–The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on opposition politicians in Sri Lanka to stop trying to intimidate local journalists by publicly leveling accusations against them. At a press conference yesterday evening, associates of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa accused two journalists for The New York Times of being tools of the…

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A mobile phone screen shows that Facebook will not open following a government decision on March 7, 2018, to shut down social messaging networks across the island for 72 hours. (Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte)

Sri Lanka’s telecom authority blocks social media sites, messaging apps

New Delhi, March 7, 2018–The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Sri Lankan authorities to restore access to social media and messaging applications. Citing Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senartne, Reuters reported that the government today asked service providers to block the networks amid anti-Muslim riots and violence. Sri Lanka yesterday imposed a state of emergency,…

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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at a seminar on the safety of journalists in Colombo in December 2017. Despite Sri Lanka's commitments to address impunity, no justice has been secured in the cases of 10 murdered journalists. (AFP/Ishara S. Kodikara)

Lots of talk but little progress in Sri Lanka over journalist murders

It was the police line-up from hell. Forget all those “Law and Order” scenes where a victim stands anonymously behind a one-way mirror. Sri Lankan journalist Namal Perera had to stand eyeball-to-eyeball with 42 army intelligence officers in April, each of whom, Perera explained to me while demonstrating his fiercest tough-guy glare, faced him with…

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Media rights activists light candles in front of the portrait of slain Sri Lankan newspaper editor Lasantha Wickramatunga during a silent vigil to condemn his killing in Colombo, January 15, 2009. (Reuters/Buddhika Weerasinghe)

Sri Lankan military intelligence officers suspected in journalist’s murder

New York, February 23, 2017–Sri Lankan authorities should fully investigate the 2009 murder of an editor and bring his killers to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Five military intelligence officers were arrested this week in connection with the murder of Lasantha Wickramatunga, the editor-in-chief of the weekly Sunday Leader and a fierce…

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