IFJ Protests Over Violent Attacks Against Journalists in Sri Lanka

The International Federation of Journalists has protested to Jathika Hela Urumaya over the attack by its members on a Young Asian Media television crew covering a political rally of the JHU in Kandy, Sri Lanka.


The IFJ has protested to the leader of the JHU and the President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in the following letter:



15 March 2004



Mr Tilak Karunaratne

Secretary

Jathika Hela Urumaya

659, Elvitigala Mw,

Colombo 05.

Fax: +94 1 2369820


CC. Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga

President Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Presidential Secretariat

Colombo-1, Sri Lanka

Fax: +94 1 333 703


CC. Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghae

Prime Minister

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

58 Sri Ernest de SilvaMwatha,

Colombo –7

Sri Lanka

Fax: +94 1 422073 542929

pasec@sltnet.lk





Dear Sirs and Madam President,


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation of journalists representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is deeply concerned over the attack against the Young Asia Television crew during coverage of a political rally of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU).


According to our information, on 2 March 2004 a Young Asia Television team was surrounded and harassed by a group of JHU followers whilst canvassing opinions of a JHU political rally in Kandy, Sri Lanka.


Apparently, the group seized and destroyed the news crew’s tape and verbally assaulted the female member of the group who they had identified as a Christian.


This event follows similar attacks by JHU supporters against the media. In late February, JHU supporters reportedly attacked two private television cameramen filming the party’s first public meeting in Panadura.


The IFJ calls on the leading monks of the JHU to launch an investigation into the actions of its followers and to ensure that the anti-media attitude prevalent amongst the JHU and the Sihala Urumaya political group is halted immediately.


The IFJ calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to take action to ensure that intolerance amongst religious and political groups in Sri Lanka is discouraged.



Yours sincerely




Christopher Warren

IFJ President




Recommended Action:


Send appeals to the Government of Sri Lanka


  • Condemning the actions of the followers of the JHU

  • Urging the JHU to launch an investigation into the actions of its followers

  • Urging the leadership monks of the JHU to immediately halt all violent and intolerant actions against the media


    Appeals:


    Mr Tilak Karunaratne

    Secretary

    Jathika Hela Urumaya

    659, Elvitigala Mw,

    Colombo 05.

    Fax: +94 1 2369820


    CC. Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga

    President Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

    Presidential Secretariat

    Colombo-1, Sri Lanka

    Fax: +94 1 333 703


    CC. Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghae

    Prime Minister

    Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

    58 Sri Ernest de SilvaMwatha,

    Colombo –7

    Sri Lanka

    Fax: +94 1 422073 542929

    pasec@sltnet.lk


    Please copy appeals to the IFJ Asia Office at ifj-asia@alliance.org.au

    For more information please contact IFJ Asia at ifj-asia@alliance.org.au