Threats against a prominent political
cartoonist in Sri Lanka over
a cartoon published on December 7 in the weekly Lanka yet again highlight theinsidious nature of efforts to impose censorship in Sri Lanka,
according to the International
Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
Hettigoda, who is also a writer and television producer, received repeated threats
by phone on the evening of December 7 warning he had no right to draw the
cartoon, according to the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Sri Lanka Working
Journalists’ Association (SLWJA), both IFJ affiliates.
lodged a complaint with the Koswatta police station. However, it is understood
that police have not investigated the threats.
against several cartoonists for mainstream newspapers have been commonplace in
recent years, according to the FMM and SLWJA.
In another effort to enforce
censorship in Sri Lanka
this week, two editors of the state-run Sunday
Observer and Daily News were
removed from their positions on December 9.
to the FMM, the demotions of Dinesh Weerawansa and Pramod de Silva were linked
to the publication on December 7 of remarks by Sri
Lanka’s army chief, Sarath Fonseka, which prompted India to protest to Sri Lanka’s Government.
was cited as saying that India would have no influence on Sri Lanka to restore
a ceasefire with the Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and it would not listen to the “political jokers” of
Tamil Nadu in India whose “survival depends on the LTTE”.
government official refused to confirm whether the removal of Weerawansa and de
Silva was linked to India’s
protest about Fonseka’s published comments, according to the FMM.
editors would be expected to censor the army chief underscores the insidious
character of censorship in Sri
Lanka,” IFJ General
Secretary Aidan White said.
whether through threats against those who seek to express their views freely or
the imposition of harsh sanctions against media personnel required to toe the
government line, is failing the people of Sri Lanka.”
joins the FMM and the SLWJA in calling on authorities to investigate promptly the
threats against Hettigoda and to reinstate the two editors to their positions.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide