Appalling rights violations no bar to contain rebellion- RSF

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 13 February 2008, 12:24 GMT]
"The government and the military have intensified the war against the Tamil Tigers and President Mahinda Rajapakse has sworn to stamp out the rebellion, at the price of appalling human rights violations if necessary. Both the Sinhala and English-language press came under even greater pressure from the authorities in 2007. On their side, the Tamil Tigers allow no dissident voices in the areas they control," said Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) in the annual report issued Wednesday. "Some ministers behave like gang leaders," the report further described the deteriorating state of governance in Sri Lanka.

"Security forces supported by militia have sown terror in Tamil areas, carrying out many extra-judicial executions, kidnappings and threats. Despite international condemnation, the government has used the fight against terrorism to justify this “dirty war”. The Tamil press has been badly affected by this strategy that is aimed at dissuading the Tamil population from supporting the LTTE," the report further said.

Describing the situation prevailing in Jaffna, the RSF report said: "The northern Jaffna Peninsula, where Tamils are in the majority and which the army directly administers, has become a nightmare for journalists, human rights activists and civilians in general. A wave of murders, kidnappings, threats and censorship has made it one of the most dangerous places in the world for the press."

On press freedom and safety of journalists, the report pointed out that Sri Lanka holds the record for the greatest number of disappearances reported to the UN. "Among them are two Jaffna journalists: Subramaniam Ramachandran, a journalist on Thinakural, who has not been seen since February after being arrested by the army; and Vadivel Nimalarajah, a sub editor on Uthayan, who was abducted from the street, after spending the night working at his office."

"The information ministry decided on 25 October to suspend the licences of five radio stations - Sun FM, Gold FM, Hiru FM, Shaa FM and Surayan FM - belonging to the privately-owned Asia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) group for putting out a news item that turned out to be wrong," the report said.

 

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