The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed
by threats made against the safety of the family of senior Sri Lankan journalist Gamini Pushpakumara.
upon the Sri Lankan police and
security agencies to take immediate measures to investigate the source of the
threats and to extend all necessary protection to Pushpakumara’s family,” IFJ General
Secretary Aidan White said.
who is an executive committee member of the Sri Lanka
Working Journalists’ Association (SLWJA) and secretary of the program producers’
union of the state-owned Sri Lanka
Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), was summarily dismissed from employment at SLRC
after presidential elections in Sri
followed Pushpakumara’s active leadership in the union’s demands that the SLRC
follow specified norms of fairness in its coverage of the presidential election
has since left his home town of Horana, near Colombo, for safety
reasons. But his family remains, and on the evening of July 12, had two
visitors who spoke in a threatening manner to his wife Waruni Balasooriya.
alleged that Pushpakumara was a “Sinhala tiger”, a tacit supporter of the Tamil
secessionist movement that was defeated in May 2009 after a quarter-century-long
Balasooriya was also warned not to report the threat to police for fear of
violent retribution. The IFJ has learnt that a complaint was nevertheless filed
at the Horana police station on July 14.
“As Sri Lanka
faces increasing international scrutiny over its human rights record and the
newly re-elected president’s intent to pursue a policy of national
reconciliation, the safety and well-being of media personnel will be a crucial
benchmark against which progress will be assessed,” White said.
recent actions by the Sri Lankan
authorities indicate that they remain disinclined to take action against the use
of coercion and threats of violence that attempt to silence journalists who courageously
speak the truth to power.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
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