Sri Lankan Journalist Missing for One Month


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) appeals

to Sri Lanka’s President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has recently also assumed the

role of Media and Information Minister, to do all in his power to investigate

the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda and ensure his safe return to

his family.



online reporter and cartoonist disappeared on January 24, two days before the

country’s presidential elections. Eknaligoda is reported to have written

several articles during the election campaign in favour of defeated candidate

Sarath Fonseka.



wife, Sandhya, publicly appealed to Sri Lanka’s authorities on February

21 to locate her husband and expressed concern that investigations were not

making progress, the BBC reported. Sandhya has also filed a petition seeking

judicial intervention to find her husband.



concerns are held for Eknaligoda’s welfare.


“Sri Lanka’s

authorities, at the direction of the President, must employ all resources to

conduct a thorough and immediate investigation to locate Eknaligoda and ensure his

safe recovery,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White



“As Sri Lanka gears

up for general elections in April, we call on the Government to fulfil its responsibility

to ensure the election campaign is conducted in an environment in which journalists

are able to report safely and without fear of retribution for the content of

their work.”



February 15, Sri

Lanka’s five main organisations of journalists - the Free Media Movement (FMM),

the Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Union (FMETU), the Sri Lanka Working

Journalists’ Association (SLWJA), the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA)

and the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMMF) - issued a joint statement to condemn

attacks against independent media personnel by police and other parties.



to the statement, police confiscated the cameras of Sirasa TV journalist Sugath

Wijerathna and Swarnavahini TV journalist K.H.M. Samathapala as they reported

on a protest for the release of Fonseka, who is held in detention, in

Dehiatthakandiva. Police reportedly erased all footage of the protest.



February 14, the equipment of Sirasa TV journalist Rahula Hemantha and Sivatha

group journalist Ajith Pushpakumara was also reportedly confiscated by

unidentified people in Tangalle while the journalists were reporting on a

similar protest.


The Sri

Lanka Five condemned these acts of violence as a violation of the public’s

right to information and a threat to democratic values.



joins the Sri Lanka Five in stressing to Sri Lanka’s leadership that the

democratic success of the upcoming elections depends on media personnel being

able to facilitate the free flow of information from diverse sources to the Sri

Lankan public.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919


The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists

in 125 countries worldwide