Colleague of Missing Journalist Under Threat in Sri Lanka

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is

alarmed at reports of a home invasion and attempted abduction of Mawbima reporter Disnendra Perera at his Colombo

home in Sri Lanka on May 31.

 

According to local media

reports, Perera was not harmed in the incident. His mother, who was at home at

the time of the attack, has reportedly made an official complaint to the Piliyandala

police, who denied police involvement in the raid.

 

Perera, a close

colleague of Lanka-e-News journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, who has been missing since

January 24, had previously received death threats from unknown people demanding

he give them a file of documents they claimed Eknaligoda had given him.

 

Both Perera and Eknaligoda

have ties to opposition parties in Sri Lanka. Perera was a former media

secretary to Sri Lanka Freedom Party (Mahajana) leader Mangala Samaraweera. Eknaligoda had published several

articles in support of defeated New Democratic Front presidential candidate and

former head of Sri Lanka’s

military, Sarath Fonseka.

 

“Reports of the attempted

abduction of Disnendra Perera is of grave concern to the IFJ, especially in

light of our deep concerns for the welfare of his friend and colleague Prageeth

Eknaligoda,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White

said.

 

“Eknaligoda’s disappearance

in January underscores the dangers that Sri Lankan journalists face in the

current political climate. Authorities must conduct a full and transparent investigation

into the disappearance of Eknaligoda and the attack on Perera’s home.”

 

Meanwhile on June 7 a Colombo magistrate

ordered senior Sunday Leader journalist

Frederica Jansz to produce her notes of a pre-election interview with Fonseka at

a hearing scheduled for June 21.

 

Jansz’s appearance in

court follows her solicitor’s refusal to produce the notebook, on the grounds

that Jansz had already given photocopies of the document to the Criminal Investigation

Department of the police.

 

The investigation into Jansz’s interview with Fonseka is especially

worrying following comments by Sri Lankan Defence Minister Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to

the BBC on June 6 when he called for the closure of the Sunday Leader and suggested Fonseka could be hanged as a traitor. Fonseka

has been held in custody since February 8, after his defeat in the country’s

presidential election and subsequent arrest on charges relating to an alleged coup

attempt.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide