Sri Lanka / Asia

Journalists attacked in Sri Lanka since 1992

  
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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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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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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Sri Lankan journalist Freddy Gamage back in hospital, still under threat

Back on June 3, we called for “a thorough investigation into an attack” on Freddy Gamage, a muckraking editor and blogger for Meepura.com (and in Sinhala). At the time, the government promised on its official website that it “would never again allow media suppression, which prevailed during the past, to reoccur.” Prime Mister Ranil Wickremesinghe…

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Newspapers announce the election victory of Maithripala Sirisena, who has pledged to improve conditions for the press in Sri Lanka. (AFP/Lakruwan Wanniarachchi)

How Sri Lanka’s new president can ease decade of repressive press measures

The stunning defeat of Sri Lanka’s incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa by challenger Maithripala Sirisena on Friday has given way to questions about what changes, if any, will come for press freedom in a country that had grown deeply repressive under the previous leadership.

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Sunil Jayasekera, convener of the Sri Lankan Free Media Movement, talks to journalists in Colombo in June. (AFP/Lakruwan Wanniarachchi)

In Sri Lanka crackdown, mobs and death threats turned on journalists

There is genuine cause for alarm about the anonymous death threats going to Sunil Jayasekara’s phone. They started streaming to Jayasekara, the convener of Sri Lanka’s Free Media Movement, an umbrella group (hence calling the leader a convener) of journalists’ organization in Sri Lanka, just before an FMM press conference on Saturday in Colombo.

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Sri Lanka’s Free Media Movement speaks out against government

In a high-risk move, the Free Media Movement in Sri Lanka released a statement condemning the government’s ban on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) holding press conferences and issuing press releases. CPJ blogged about the government’s move last week.

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Sri Lanka moves to silence NGOs, press groups

The Sri Lankan government has taken yet another step to silence critical media coverage, banning non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from holding press conferences and issuing press releases, as well as running workshops or training sessions. The action, announced Sunday by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defense, left the country’s many press groups wondering whether they are even…

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Sri Lanka must end media restrictions to facilitate reconciliation

This month, in the wake of anti-Muslim sectarian riots in the southwest, the Sri Lankan government pressured local journalists to hide the truth by not covering the violence. Those brave enough to report it had their equipment destroyed and were threatened or physically attacked, according to media reports. Since the government stifled coverage of these…

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Journalists can help curb gender-based violence

Training journalists how to better cover gender-based violence can help challenge attitudes that foster sexual attacks. Helping journalists learn personal skills to safely navigate sexual aggression can help prevent them from becoming victims themselves.

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