Radio Netherlands reporters detail Sri Lanka harassment

By Bob Dietz/CPJ Asia Program Coordinator on July 20, 2011 3:01 PM ET

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. 

Now, you can get the story from the two radio reporters themselves. Even though they're back home, Radio Netherlands is identifying them only as Olivia and Philip to protect their identities for future assignments. The web page also has an audio interview with the two reporters.

Heavy-handed abuse is usually reserved for domestic journalists in Sri Lanka, although foreign correspondents based in Colombo have their own stories to tell of visa problems and officials angry with unflattering coverage.

The government is in denial mode these days after Britain's Channel 4 aired a documentary on widespread brutality at the end of the war with Tamil secessionists, and a U.N. investigation found evidence of war crimes by both sides. Visa procedures have tightened up significantly as the government hunkers down, fending off international criticism. 


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