IFJ Condemns "Brutal Slaying" of Leading Tamil Journalist in Sri Lanka

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation of journalists representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, has condemned the brutal murder of leading Tamil journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan, who was shot dead on 31 May 2004.


According to reports, Nadesan was gunned down by a group of unidentified assailants in Baticaloa, a town some 200 km east of Colombo, while he was on his way to work.


Nadesan was the vice-president of the Eastern Journalists Association and correspondent for the Virakesari Tamil daily, Shakthi TV and the Tamil-language service of the London-based radio station IBC News Service. It is understood that he received the “Best Tamil Journalist” prize in 2000 and won the Sahithya Academy Award for his book History of Ethnic Strife.


“It is always shocking when a prominent journalist and leader is killed,” said IFJ President Christopher Warren today.


“This horrific murder underlines that work must continue on the peace process in Sri Lanka, and that media should never have to pay the ultimate price for ongoing internal conflict,” said Warren.


Nadesan was known for his fearless and credible journalism and had gained the admiration and recognition by the international community.


The slaying of Nadesan, known for his work critical of the Sri Lanka Government and paramilitary groups, comes in the wake of an article written by him analysing the series of crimes and killings in Baticoloa.


The IFJ strongly condemns the murder of Nadesan and expresses concern that this attack comes in the wake of several such attacks against journalists in Sri Lanka.


His murder follows the raid on the home of a Sri Lankan Tamil journalist, Sivaram Dharmeratnam (Taraki), by the Sri Lankan Police on Monday, 3 May 2004.


The IFJ calls upon the Sri Lanka Government to initiate an impartial investigation into this murder and make every effort to bring the perpetrators of this tragic crime to book.


Further information is available on in the IFJ Asia website at www.ifj-asia.org


For further information contact IFJ President Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668



The IFJ has written to the Government of Sri Lanka in the following letter:


4 June 2004


Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga

President

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Presidential Secretariat

Colombo-1, Sri Lanka

Fax: +94 1 2333703


Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa

Prime Minister

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

58 Sri Ernest de SilvaMwatha,

Colombo –7

Sri Lanka

Fax: +94 1 2542918

Email: templetrees@sltnet.lk



Dear President and Prime Minister,


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation of journalists representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, condemns the murder of leading Tamil journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan, who was shot dead on 31 May 2004.


According to reports, Nadesan was gunned down by a group of unidentified assailants in Baticaloa, a town some 200 km east of Colombo, while he was on his way to work.


Nadesan was the vice-president of the Eastern Journalists Association and correspondent for the Virakesari Tamil daily, Shakthi TV and the Tamil-language service of the London-based radio station IBC News Service. It is understood that he received the “Best Tamil Journalist” prize in 2000 and won the Sahithya Academy Award for his book History of Ethnic Strife.


It is always shocking when a prominent journalist and leader is killed. This horrific murder underlines that work must continue on the peace process in Sri Lanka, and that media should never have to pay the ultimate price for ongoing internal conflict.


The IFJ strongly condemns the murder of Nadesan and expresses concern that this attack comes in the wake of several such attacks against journalists in Sri Lanka.


His murder follows the raid on the home of a Sri Lankan Tamil journalist, Sivaram Dharmeratnam (Taraki), by the Sri Lankan Police on Monday, 3 May 2004.


The IFJ calls upon the Sri Lanka Government to initiate an impartial investigation into this murder and make every effort to bring the perpetrators of this tragic crime to book.


Finally, we call on your Government to do all that is necessary to ensure the safety of all journalists working in Sri Lanka and to create the conditions for a climate of genuine press freedom in Sri Lanka.


Yours sincerely




Christopher Warren

IFJ President


CC. Inspector General of Police

Indra De Silva

Police Head Quarters

Colombo 1

Fax: +94 1 2446174


CC. Mr. Ranjith Abeysooriya

Chairman

National Police Commission

No. 69/1, Ward Place

Colombo 7

Fax: +94 1 2669528


Recommended Action:


Send appeals to the Government of Sri Lanka


  • Condemning the murder of Tamil journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan,

  • Calling for an impartial investigation into the murder of Nadesan

  • Urging the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure the safety of all journalists working in Sri Lanka.


    Appeals:


    Chandrika B. Kumarathunga

    President

    Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

    Presidential Secretariat

    Colombo-1, Sri Lanka

    Fax: +94 1 2333703


    Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa

    Prime Minister

    Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

    58 Sri Ernest de SilvaMwatha,

    Colombo –7

    Sri Lanka

    Fax: +94 1 2542918

    Email: templetrees@sltnet.lk


    CC. Inspector General of Police

    Indra De Silva

    Police Head Quarters

    Colombo 1

    Fax: +94 1 2446174


    CC. Mr. Ranjith Abeysooriya

    Chairman

    National Police Commission

    No. 69/1, Ward Place

    Colombo 7

    Fax: +94 1 2669528


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


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