Journalist Abducted and Murdered in Colombo

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed its shock and anger over the abduction and murder of freelance journalist Sampath Lakmal de Silva over the weekend.

In a serious escalation of violence against media workers in Sri Lanka, de Silva is the first Sinhala language journalist to be murdered in eight years (the recent murdered journalists have all been Tamil), and he has written stories critical of all sides.

IFJ President Christopher Warren said, “This is a ruthless and senseless attack which is particularly worrisome given de Silva’s record of unbiased reporting, and this signifies a further disintegration of basic freedom and safety standards and protections for media workers in Sri Lanka.”

According to reports from an IFJ affiliate, the Free Media Movement (FMM), de Silva was abducted by an unknown group from his parents home on July 2, and was later found shot dead three kilometres from home in Borallasgamuwa, south of Colombo.

De Silva had recently written reports that embarrassed elements of the security forces.

He had been working full-time for several media institutions, and was the defence correspondent for Isathdina Weekly before becoming a freelance journalist.

De Silva’s brutal murder comes immediately after the conclusion of the IFJ-EU Sri Lanka Mission from June 25-30, where the IFJ are working with affiliates in Sri Lanka.

In the past 16 months six media workers have been killed in Sri-Lanka, none of which have been investigated or resolved.

“The IFJ supports its affiliates in Sri Lanka in condemning the murder of de Silva, and in calling upon authorities to investigate the case immediately so that those responsible can be brought to justice as soon as possible,” Warren said.

“Sri Lankan authorities must take more responsibility for these attacks and establish stronger protections for media workers to prevent journalists like de Silva senselessly losing their lives just for doing their jobs.”

For more information please contact IFJ Asia Pacific +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 120 countries