The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called for a full investigation into death threats made against Free Media Movement (FMM) convener, Sunanda Deshapriya, leading journalist, Bandula Padmakumara, The Sunday Leader editor, Lasantha Wikramatunga, and Ravaya editor, Victor Ivan, as well as politicians, including the Opposition Leader, and prominent business figures.
According to local reports, an international group sent death threats through a website, labelling the group “traitors”.
“Publicly labelling individuals as traitors is a dangerous business, particularly during these volatile times,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said.
“These threats must be taken seriously, and adequate action has to be taken by authorities to ensure no harm comes to the group,” Warren said.
“This is not the first time threats, hate speech and public identification have been used to try and bully the media into submission. The government must launch an immediate investigation into this incident and send a strong message this cowardly behaviour will not be tolerated.”
According to IFJ affiliate, the FMM, seven media workers, including two journalists, were killed last year, and this latest episode is only further evidence of the terrifying working environment Sri Lankan journalists face
“We demand that the government and all parties involved put an end to this atmosphere of fear and violent retaliation that has engulfed Sri Lanka,” Warren said.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries