IFJ Condemns Restrictions On Tamil Paper In Sri Lanka

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Free Media Movement (FMM) in expressing concern over increased hostilities toward Tamil-language newspaper Uthayan, based in Jaffna in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province.


The FMM reports that Jaffna Municipal Council has ordered its officials not to invite Uthayan journalists to cover official events or provide them with any information such as media releases.


Officials are also reported to have prohibited all government offices and departments from subscribing to or purchasing the newspaper. The ban extends to libraries in the city, where Tamil-language speakers constitute a majority.


“It is unacceptable that authorities would actively deny a particular language group access to official information,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.


Uthayan’soffices and journalists were subjected to attack throughout the country’s 26-year civil war, and the period since the war ended in May 2009. Most recently, a police constable was arrested after threatening to burn the newspaper’s office and assault its staff on March 17, after the paper refused to publish a correction to a news report, Sri Lanka’s Sunday Times reported.


Unidentified people riding motorcycles have warned staff against publishing reports and photographs not favourable to the Government or politicians affiliated with the ruling United People’s Freedom Party.


The IFJ joins the FMM in calling for an immediate reversal of the decision by the Jaffna Municipal Council.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919


The IFJ represents 600,000 journalists in 125 countries


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