Sri Lanka Defence Secretary Wins Order to Silence Media House




International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) is extremely concerned about restrictions on reporting of defence

matters in Sri Lanka

after a court prohibited all Leader Publications newspapers publishing any

information referring to the Defence Secretary until December 18.



to the Free Media Movement (FMM), an

IFJ affiliate, a magistrate granted the ex-parte injunction application by Defence

Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa on December 5. Rajapaksa accuses the Sunday Leader newspaper of publishing

articles which allegedly defamed him.



the national Parliament, United National Party parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekara

reportedly said the Defence Secretary’s actions were intended to prevent the

publication of a Sunday Leader exposé

on the assassination of General Janaka Perera in a suicide attack in October.



is against the right of expression. This violates the fundamental right of

expression enshrined in the Constitution," Jayasekara told the Parliament. 



has had several confrontations with the media in Sri Lanka in 2008. After a peaceful

demonstration in Colombo on May 27 to protest a violent attack on defence

writer Keith Noyahr, Rajapaksa threatened the President and Secretary of the

Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association, Sanath

Balasooriya and Poddala Jayantha, saying the Government would

not offer them safety or protection if they continued to advocate for press

freedom in Sri Lanka. 



two-week gag on Leader Publications is a setback for press freedom and further stifles

independent media in Sri

Lanka,” IFJ Asia-Pacific




court hearing will resume on December 18, when Leader Publications will defend

the publication of the allegedly defamatory material.



IFJ joins the FMM in raising

concerns about the Defence Secretary’s efforts to restrict reporting on defence

matters and welcomes the move by some Members of Parliament to open dialogue on

the public record to challenge the Government’s prevailing antagonism toward

press freedom in Sri Lanka.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919


The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide