SL President pooh-poohs Gothabaya death threat

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 18 April 2007, 11:05 GMT]
Before leaving for Italy Wednesday, Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa telephoned Ms. Champika Liyanarachchi, editor of the Daily Mirror, in a bid to defuse the controversy that has erupted over the death threats she received Tuesday from Defence Secretary Gotathabaya Rajapaksa. The President had suggested to Ms. Liyanarachchi that she had overreacted to Mr. Gotabhaya’s “expressions of concern for her safety,” Presidential Secretariat sources said.

On Tuesday Gothabaya had threatened Ms. Liyanarachchi, saying the paper’s coverage of actions of the Karuna Group had angered the Army-backed paramilitaries.

According to the Free Media Movement (FMM), the Defence Secretary had telephoned the editor to say she should not be surprised if the Karuna Group turned its violence against her and if so, she shouldn’t expect government protection.

Sources close to the Daily Mirror said Tuesday that Mr. Gothabaya had been explicit.

Speaking in English, the incensed Defence Secretary vowed to Ms. Liyanarachchi: “I’ll exterminate you!”

He had also attacked another journalist with the Daily Mirror, Uditha Jayasinha, describing her as “a prostitute whose mother has been sleeping with the Tigers.”

On Wednesday morning President Rajapakse telephoned Ms. Liyanarachchi, saying the incident had been brought his notice by ‘a journalist.’

The President said that Mr. Gothabaya had only wanted to “express his concern for [Ms. Liyanarachchi’s] safety” after her paper published an article on violence by the Karuna Group and suggested the government was complicit.

Ironically, Ms. Liyanarachchi was seen by many as having good links with President Rajapakse’s administration and political camp.

Amid widespread expectation that Mr. Mahinda’s archrival, Ranil Wickremesinghe would win the 2005 President elections, she was the first commentator to emphatically argue the opposite, a media analyst said.

And in an interview to the BBC Sinhala service, Laksham Hulugalle, Director General of the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS), said of Ms Liyanarachchi: “we work closely work with her and I’m sure the Defence Secretary would never have said those things.”

“He’s not there to threaten journalists but to protect the country from threats,” Mr. Hulugalle said of Mr. Gothabaya.

However the FMM noted that government leaders had criticized Daily Mirror on previous occasions as well over is coverage of the conflict.

“It is an open secret that government leaders and close allies are pressurizing independent media to toe its line on war and peace. We see … a calculated process of coercion by the Government that forces media to abandon its role watch-dog of democracy, and instead adopt the supine role of a lap dog to those in power.”


Chronology:

 

Latest 15 Reports
22.01.21 08:01   Photo
Gotabaya sets up deceptive COI citing ‘sovereignty’ and ‘non-aligned’ foreign policy
18.01.21 23:44   Photo
Tamil activists resisted three sources of outside influence while drafting demands to UNHRC
16.01.21 11:03  
Tamil national parties demand UN to inquire into crime of genocide and set up IIIM
09.01.21 09:37   Photo
Demolition of Tamil genocide monument, fourth emblematic trauma since 1974: Rev Fr Sakthivel
08.01.21 23:51   Photo
Colombo destroys Mu'l'livaaykkaal memorial monument at Jaffna University
07.01.21 11:22   Photo
With emphasis on genocide, Suresh calls for ICC-referral, IIIM and referendum
07.01.21 00:04   Photo
Boyle prefers IIIM demand over ICC-referral, says specific reference to genocide essential
06.01.21 14:26  
Indian Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar trades off Tamils’ sovereign rights
05.01.21 07:08  
TNPF's reluctance, NGO-meddling pose challenges to formulating joint Tamil demands to UN: Shivaji
06.12.20 15:44   Photo
Colombo’s brutal suppression of Tamil Heroes’ Day counter-productive to stated objectives: Tamil MP
27.11.20 16:44   Photo
Occupied Tamil Eelam marks Heroes' Day indoors, SL military detains seminary principal
16.11.20 18:45  
China launches world’s biggest regional trade agreement without Indian participation
31.10.20 10:58  
Tamils risk Kashmir-like status revocation if Gota continues Trinco military cooperation with US
06.10.20 11:40  
Poet Pulamaipithan who championed Tamil Eelam solidarity in Tamil Nadu turns 85
28.09.20 23:19   Photo
Muslims join Tamils opposing Colombo's suppression of Thileepan Remembrance in North
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=21922