International journalist community lobbies for release of Sri Lankan journalist

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has been joined by press freedom and journalists’ organisations around the world in demanding the release of Sri Lankan journalist Munusamy Parameshawary (23), who has been detained without charge by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) for more than 60 days.


Supporting a campaign by an IFJ affiliate, the Free Media Movement (FMM), journalists’ organisations from more than 10 countries wrote letters to the Sri Lankan government protesting the detention of the Mawbima journalist, who has been held in the TID office in Colombo since November 22 under the newly enacted Terrorism Prevention laws.


Locally, Sri Lankan journalists and their organisations sent more than 500 postcards calling for Parameshawary’s release to the Sri Lankan government today.


No charges have been laid against Parameshawary, and up until recently she was denied access to lawyers, her editor and media organisations. After a brief court appearance on January 23, the TID were successful in extending her detention for another 30 days without trial.


The IFJ President Christopher Warren said: “This is an absolutely disgraceful situation, and the Sri Lankan government cannot remain inactive while a young female journalist is denied her most basic rights, and languishes in detention.”


Parameshawary is known for reporting on issues related to the Tamil community and had investigated disappearances in Colombo.


“In light of her objective journalism and the tenuous claims against her, we again stress our concerns that these new Emergency (Prevention and Prohibition of Terrorism and Specified Terrorist Activities) Regulations are being used and abused to oppress the media and silence vital independent voices,” Warren said.


“Given that no charges have been laid, and that investigations conducted to date have failed to establish any links between Parameshawary and terrorist activity of any kind, we demand the Sri Lankan government intervene to facilitate her immediate release.”


The IFJ, the organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries, called on colleagues around the world to stand in solidarity with Parameshawary, and all Sri Lankan journalists, in their struggle for an independent, safe and free media.


For further information, and to download a draft protest letter to send to the Sri Lankan government demanding the release of Parameshawary, please visit www.ifj-asia.org.


For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919


The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries