Solidarity Welcomed As Protesters In Sri Lanka Demand Action On Eknaligoda

 

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the display of strength and unity by

colleagues of missing Sri Lankan

columnist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda at a protest and public meeting in

Colombo on

August 10.

 

A coalition of Sri Lankan press freedom groups – including IFJ

affiliates the Free Media Movement (FMM),

the Sri Lanka Working Journalists’

Association (SLWJA) and the Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Union (FMETU)

– staged a satyagraha, or silent

protest, to mark 200 days since Eknaligoda mysteriously disappeared.

 

Protest organisers the Alliance of

Media Organisations commended the estimated 350 people who attended the rally

to call for a full and open investigation into Eknaligoda’s whereabouts, in an

environment where displays of public protest are often stifled for fear of

reprisals.

 

Organisers said rallies of this

nature generally draw crowds of about 50 people.

 

The satyagraha was followed by a march and public meeting chaired by FMM Secretary Seetha Ranjanee, and featured speeches

from several prominent human rights and press freedom activists.

 

“The IFJ commends Eknaligoda’s

colleagues and Sri Lankan human

rights activists for taking a brave public stand to demand action in relation

to his disappearance,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan

White said.

 

“It

is encouraging to see the local journalists’ community in Sri Lanka

will not let intimidation stand in the way of their struggle for justice in one

of the most dangerous places for media workers in the world.”

 

Eknaligoda,

who is known for his outspoken political views, went missing on January 24, two

days before Sri Lanka’s presidential

elections.

 

The IFJ has forwarded a letter

of concern signed by members of the International

Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) to the Government of Sri Lanka.

 

The

IFJ and other international press freedom organisations are demanding the

Government ensure all efforts are made to locate Eknaligoda, and bring those

responsible for his disappearance to justice.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries

 

Find the

IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific