SLTMA extends plea to save Tamil Journalists on Press Freedom Day

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 03 May 2006, 12:10 GMT]
"The killings of the two Uthayan staffs and the extensive damage to the Uthayan office and equipments by paramilitary cadres directed by the Sri Lanka government (GOSL), pose serious threat to the media in Sri Lanka," said the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA) in its statement released Tuesday. The GoSL conducts "customary eyewash inquiries," into the killings of several Tamil journalists, the statement added.

"The organisations which fight for the Freedom of the press and the International Community should come forward to demand the GoSL to conduct thorough investigations and trials into the repeated assassinations of Tamil journalists, and to bring the criminals involved to justice without its customary eyewash law enforcement," the SLTMA statement said.

Translation of the press statement issued in Tamil by the SLTMA follows:

"The attack on Uthayan office in Jaffna on Tuesday around 7.30 p.m took place on the very day World Press Freedom Day was observed in Colombo under the auspices of the Sri Lanka Ministry of Media. The armed gunmen in black said that they had come after one of the editors of Uthayan on forcefully entering Uthayan Office in Jaffna. While two of them stood guard at the entrance the rest had burst into the office. Failing to find the person they intended to kill they opened fire indiscriminately into the office killing Thevasagayam Suresh 35 marketing manager and S. Ranjith 24, distribution supervisor on the spot. The fate of one of the other staff member who managed to flee remains unknown. Computers and other valuable equipments in the office were destroyed by the volley of shots.

"The SLTMA strongly condemns the terror against Tamil journalists. This terror act poses a great danger to the media freedom in Sri Lanka. The SLTMA requests the GoSL to conduct fair and just investigations in order to bring the culprits to justice. We demand the GoSL to refrain from its customary eyewash inquiries into the killings of several Tamil journalists in the past and to conduct impartial investigations and trials.

"We wish to point out that the perpetrators of the earlier assassinated journalists are yet to be punished. The lukewarm approach of the GoSL has only helped to increase the violence on the media journalists. We call upon the International Organizations which stand for the Freedom of Press and the International Community to exert pressure on the GoSL to abide by the universal standards in its approach to the Media and its journalists in Sri Lanka,' concluded the statement.

 

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