International Award For Sri Lankan Journalist


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes

the awarding of an anti-corruption prize to Sri Lankan

journalist and press freedom activist Poddala Jayantha, who was forced into

exile after a brutal attack in June 2009.


Jayantha received corruption

watchdog Transparency International’s

Integrity Award on November 12 in recognition of his fearless reporting on

corruption in Sri Lanka, in a climate

where critical investigative journalism has been stymied by government

oppression and partisan violence. In one report for Silumina, Jayantha

exposed an alleged LKR 3.6 billion (USD 37 million) case of tax fraud.


The journalist has also worked

tirelessly in defence of freedom of expression and media workers’ rights in his

role as former General Secretary of the Sri Lankan

Working Journalists’ Association (SLWJA), an IFJ affiliate.


“The IFJ applauds

Transparency International’s recognition

of the integrity and courage of Poddala Jayanthya, who is known as much for his

excellent investigative journalism as his unrelenting defence of journalists’

rights and freedom of expression,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.


“The award sends a clear

message that corruption and human rights abuses must be exposed and reminds us of

the crucial role of journalists who help in uncovering these crimes.”


Jayantha, who left Sri Lanka after being abducted and assaulted in an

attack which has left him with permanent disabilities, continues in his role as

President of the SLWJA in exile in the United States.


Meanwhile, a government

ban issued on November 10 which prevented BBC journalists from reporting on a

hearing into the country’s civil war in the country’s north was lifted on November

14, the BBC reported.


Government officials had

prevented the BBC crew from attending the trials, which hope to determine ways

to avoid repeating the atrocities committed in the country’s ethnic conflict

between the Sinhalese majority and separatist group the Liberation Tigers of

Tamil Eelam (LTTE).


Restrictions on media

remain in place for access to the predominantly Tamil north of the country,

which is home to a number of refugee camps and military installations,

according to BBC reports. 


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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