The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) appeals
to Sri Lanka’s President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has recently also assumed the
role of Media and Information Minister, to do all in his power to investigate
the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda and ensure his safe return to
online reporter and cartoonist disappeared on January 24, two days before the
country’s presidential elections. Eknaligoda is reported to have written
several articles during the election campaign in favour of defeated candidate
wife, Sandhya, publicly appealed to Sri Lanka’s authorities on February
21 to locate her husband and expressed concern that investigations were not
making progress, the BBC reported. Sandhya has also filed a petition seeking
judicial intervention to find her husband.
concerns are held for Eknaligoda’s welfare.
authorities, at the direction of the President, must employ all resources to
conduct a thorough and immediate investigation to locate Eknaligoda and ensure his
safe recovery,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White
“As Sri Lanka gears
up for general elections in April, we call on the Government to fulfil its responsibility
to ensure the election campaign is conducted in an environment in which journalists
are able to report safely and without fear of retribution for the content of
February 15, Sri
Lanka’s five main organisations of journalists - the Free Media Movement (FMM),
the Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Union (FMETU), the Sri Lanka Working
Journalists’ Association (SLWJA), the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA)
and the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMMF) - issued a joint statement to condemn
attacks against independent media personnel by police and other parties.
to the statement, police confiscated the cameras of Sirasa TV journalist Sugath
Wijerathna and Swarnavahini TV journalist K.H.M. Samathapala as they reported
on a protest for the release of Fonseka, who is held in detention, in
Dehiatthakandiva. Police reportedly erased all footage of the protest.
February 14, the equipment of Sirasa TV journalist Rahula Hemantha and Sivatha
group journalist Ajith Pushpakumara was also reportedly confiscated by
unidentified people in Tangalle while the journalists were reporting on a
Lanka Five condemned these acts of violence as a violation of the public’s
right to information and a threat to democratic values.
joins the Sri Lanka Five in stressing to Sri Lanka’s leadership that the
democratic success of the upcoming elections depends on media personnel being
able to facilitate the free flow of information from diverse sources to the Sri
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 125 countries worldwide