Sri Lanka: Freelance journalist attacked only 48 hours before presidential election

Unidentified assailants attacked Lasantha Wijeratna, a freelance journalist and anti- corruption activist, on November 14. The International Federation of Journalist (IFJ) and its affiliate Free Media Movement (FMM) raise concerns about the attack which took place in the lead-up to the country’s presidential election.

Lasantha Wijeratne receiving treatment Credit: AFP

Wijeratna was attacked by three men with firearms in his home at around 2.30am on November 14. Wijeratna sustained injuries from the attack including severe lacerations to his hand and was admitted to the intensive care unit in Karapitiya Hospital.

News 1stspokesperson SSP Ruwan Gunasekara alleges it was a retaliatory attack to Wijeratna for his work on alleged acts of corruption believed to have been committed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa during his tenure as the former Secretary of Defense. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was declared the new president of Sri Lanka after the weekend’s election.

The Free Media Movement said it strongly urge “all parties concerned to expedite investigations into this incident, which has challenged the democratic space in this country.”

The IFJ said: “The lack of prosecution for the crime against journalists in Sri Lanka’s past has resulted in a culture that increases the dangers journalists face, particularly during fraught political times. The IFJ expresses solidarity to Wijeratna and others who have been affected by the attack.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on 
+61 2 9333 0918

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Find the IFJ Asia - Pacific IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram