Lasantha Wickramatunga

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A vigil for journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga is seen in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on January 15, 2009. A U.S. court recently dismissed a civil suit against former Secretary of Defense Gotabaya Rajapaksa over his alleged involvement in the killing. (Reuters/Buddhika Weerasinghe)

US court dismisses suit against former Sri Lankan defense secretary over murder of Sri Lankan journalist Wickramatunga

New York, October 22, 2019 — The Committee to Protect Journalists is dismayed by a U.S. District Court’s decision to dismiss a civil lawsuit against former Sri Lankan Secretary of Defense Gotabaya Rajapaksa over his alleged involvement in the 2009 killing of Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga.

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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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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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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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CPJ welcomes new probe into murder of Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga

New York, September 27, 2016–Sri Lankan police today exhumed the body of slain journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga as part of a new investigation into his death in 2009, according to news reports. A Sri Lankan judge this month granted permission for the police to exhume the editor’s body due to contradictory post-mortem reports–two months after a…

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Sri Lankan president should ensure improved climate for press freedom

Dear President Sirisena: The Committee to Protect Journalists, an international press freedom organization, is writing to congratulate you on your recent victory in Sri Lanka’s presidential election. As Sri Lanka readies itself for a new chapter in its history, we urge your government to take concrete and meaningful steps to improve the climate for press freedom.

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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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CHOGM leaders should urge media freedom in Sri Lanka

Dear Commonwealth Heads of Government: The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) was set up more than 40 years ago with the aim of working together toward shared goals of democracy, freedom, peace, and the rule of law. In the past, formal meetings and private retreats at the summit have served as a platform for member states to discuss issues that affect all nations, such as apartheid in South Africa and the electoral dispute in Zimbabwe.

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Critical Sri Lankan newspaper editor held at knifepoint

New York, August 26, 2013–Five unidentified men entered the Colombo home of a Sunday Leader associate editor and writer early Saturday morning, held her at knifepoint, and searched her home, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Sri Lankan authorities to conduct a thorough and efficient investigation into the attack on…

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