34 journalists killed, says JDS

A new orgnisation formed by recently exiled media workers from Sri Lanka have expressed serious concern about 34 journalists and media workers who they say have been killed “with no recourse to justice” since the current government was formed.

In a press release, Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) state that “people of Sri Lanka are deprived of their right to information and media, and journalists are forced to practise unprecedented levels of self censorship”.

Since the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government came into power in April 2004 with the present President Mahinda Rajapaksa as its prime minister, there has been an increase in killings, abductions, intimidations and threats against journalists and the media, JDS said.

50 journalists ‘exiled’

It has resulted in more than 50 journalists leaving the country due to fear of persecution.

The organisation had also published a list of 34 media workers killed since 2004.

When asked why the organisation is blaming the government since the Tamil Tigers were blamed for some of the killings, the coordinator of JDS, Rohitha Bashana Abeywardhana said, “The Tamil Tigers no longer exist, it is the responsibility of the government to investigate the killings and find the perpetrators. Since that is not done, we have no one else to blame”.

JDS supports the 11-point plan put forward last week by International Press Freedom Mission to redress the press freedom environment in Sri Lanka.

The organisation calls upon the United Nations, governments and other international organisations to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government “to end the culture of impunity and to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.”

JDS is a group of journalists, writers, artists and human rights defenders who having left Sri Lanka, convened recently in Europe and campaign for human rights and media freedom in Sri Lanka.

Source : BBC

PRESS RELEASE (Read on tree Language)

English :-PDF

Tamil    :- PDF

Sinhala :- PDF

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