The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is
outraged to learn of an attack on journalists at the Bandaranaike
Airport at Katunayake near Colombo on December 7.
information received from IFJ affiliate the Sri Lanka
Working Journalist Association (SLWJA), two journalists – Shanta Wijesuriya of
the news portal Lanka-e-News and
Prema Lal of Sirasa TV – were injured in the attack, whose principal target was
the leader of the New Left Front, Wickramabahu Karunaratne, as he returned from
an overseas trip.
were heard accusing Karunaratne of treason for having spoken of Sri Lanka’s
recent human rights record at several speaking engagements during his travel.
journalists were assigned by their news organisations to cover the return of
the political leader, a candidate in the nation’s presidential election last
January. Sri Lanka’s Free
Media Movement (FMM), also an IFJ affiliate, believes that the attack on the
two journalists was a “well coordinated action aimed at ensuring the media
has pointed out that after the initial attack, carried out in the presence of
police personnel, the attackers pursued the vehicle in which the two
journalists were travelling, obstructed its path and continued raining blows on
endorse the call made by the SLWJA and FMM for civil society to stand up and
condemn these latest manifestations of political intolerance”, IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.
have no expectation, given the recent track record, of a serious official
investigation into this outrage, we hope that the media community and civil
society will join hands to fix responsibility and enforce accountability”.
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
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