Journalists Demand Investigations into Death, Disappearance in Sri Lanka

As protests

in Sri Lanka mark the

anniversaries of the murder of Sunday

Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge and disappearance of cartoonist

Prageeth Eknaligoda, the International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demands that the Government of Sri Lanka

expedite investigations into these cases and immediately disclose any findings.

 

The Alliance

of Media Organisations, which includes IFJ affiliates the Free Media Movement

(FMM) and the Sri Lanka Working

Journalists’ Association (SLWJA), staged a protest in Colombo on January 18 to mark two years since

the death of Wickrematunge and one year since Eknaligoda’s disappearance.

 

Wickrematunge was murdered on January 8, 2009 in the midst of a dramatic increase in violent

attacks on journalists and media organisations as the country’s long-running

civil war drew to an end. Eknaligoda,

a well-known cartoonist and columnist with Lanka-e-News has been missing since January

24, 2010 – only two days before Sri

Lanka’s

bitterly contested presidential election.

 

Around 250

journalists, trade unionists and press freedom activists gathered outside the

Fort railway station in the capital Colombo

to mark the anniversaries and demand the Government, police and judiciary

conduct “meaningful investigations” into these cases.

 

Official enquiries

into both cases have made slow progress, with little or no information being

made available to the public, leading journalists and press freedom activists

to question the integrity of the investigations.

 

“It is hard to believe that, after

two years, no real progress has been made in the investigation into Wickrematunge’s

death, especially given the very public nature of his murder,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

 

“Eknaligoda’s disappearance is

equally troubling and we hold grave fears for his wellbeing.

 

“Sri Lanka’s

authorities must employ every resource at their disposal to thoroughly

investigate and resolve these cases without further delay.”

 

In a posthumous

editorial Wickrematunge, who was well aware that the deaths of media

workers in Sri Lanka were often

met with impunity, predicted that any investigation into his death would be

ineffectual.

 

See images from the January 18

protest here:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=169214539790097&set=a.169213243123560.33372.100001046575746&pid=356771&id=100001046575746#!/album.php?fbid=169213243123560&id=100001046575746&aid=33372

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

 

The IFJ represents 600,000 journalists in 125 countries

 

Find the IFJ

on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

Find the IFJ Asia-Pacific on Facebook here