SLA soldiers search Jaffna press, threaten workers

[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 December 2005, 05:52 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army cordoned off the offices of the popular Tamil daily Namathu Eelanaadu located in Navalar road Jaffna Thursday 6.30 a.m. and searched the editorial, administrative and press sections of the paper's offices thoroughly for nearly half an hour, workers at the premises said. SLA soldiers questioned several workers at the daily and demanded to see workers' national identity cards. Civil groups expressed alarm at this ominous development to suppress press freedom in Jaffna district.

Soldiers also blocked the roads leading to the Namathu Eelanaadu office and searched civilians attempting to pass the offices. Many without national identity cards were detained for several hours, sources said.

Officials of daily Valampuri with offices located close to Namathu Eelanaadu said that workers entering the offices were stopped at the entrance to the building and questioned by the SLA soldiers Thursday morning. Several workers were also threatened by the soldiers, according to some employees at the newspaper building.

North Sri Lanka Journalists Association condemned the harassment of the journalists and newspaper workers by the SLA troops and demanded that all harassment be stopped, and urged the Sri Lanka Government to take all efforts to safeguard press freedom.

 

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