The International Federation
of Journalists (IFJ) demands an immediate investigation into allegations that
police verbally and physically abused a journalist as he attempted to report on
public disruption caused by an unannounced curfew in Batticaloa in Sri Lanka’s
According to the Free Media Movement (FMM), an IFJ affiliate,
Kalmunai media house journalist Mohamed Hussein was beaten by officers from the
Eravur police as he tried to talk with members of the public about the sudden 6am
to 6pm curfew imposed by police at the Chathurukondan check-point.
Two police officers armed with rifles and baton sticks reportedly stopped
Hussein on his bicycle near Eravur town and,
despite his presentation of his media identification,
beat him with the baton and yelled abusively.
Earlier, Hussein was traveling
to work at Kalmunai media house, run
when his bus was stopped at the Chathurukondan checkpoint. Passengers were informed
of the curfew and the bus was forced to return to town.
A correspondent with Thinakaran daily
and a colleague of Hussein, Mohamed
Ismail Farook, lodged a complaint about
the incident with the officer-in-charge at the Eravur police station.
However, while the officer
reportedly accepted the complaint and requested Hussein return to the station
later in the evening, Hussein was
then told he was not available.
“It is baffling why police would physically attack a journalist who is
trying to gather information to inform the public about an unannounced curfew,” IFJ Asia-Pacific
“Verbal or physical assaults by police against members of the media must
not be tolerated.”
The IFJ joins the FMM in
requesting the authorities take immediate disciplinary action against the two police
officers and stress to them the importance of journalists’ right of passage to
report on any emergency situation that affects the safety of the general
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in
120 countries worldwide