IFJ Condemns Abduction of Veteran Media Personality in Sri Lanka

The

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the release of Dammika

Ganganath Dissanayake, media adviser to Sri Lanka’s principal opposition

party and a former chairman of the state-owned broadcast agency, who returned

home yesterday after being abducted by armed men on the night of March 11.

 

“The IFJ welcomes

the release and safe return of Dissanayake,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.

 

“However,

his brief disappearance reminds us that the political strife in Sri Lanka plays

itself out in threatening ways for people associated with the media.”

 

The Sri

Lankan police said Dissanayake returned home early yesterday morning after being

released in the town of Kirindiwella, west of Colombo.

 

Dissanayake told

reporters that he had been blindfolded and questioned at length about a book his

abductors thought he had written criticising Sri Lankan President Mahinda

Rajapaksa.

 

Dissanayake said

he was released after he denied knowledge of the book.

 

Sri

Lanka’s United National Party claimed

that Dissanayake’s abduction was an effort to intimidate and deter him from his

reported plans to write a book on the current leadership in Sri Lanka.

 

“This entire

murky episode demands a thorough explanation by the Sri Lankan authorities.

Without accountability being established for these lawless acts, the creeping

paralysis of the media in Sri

Lanka risks becoming irreversible,” White said.

 

For

further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries