Media activists in Colombo fear reprisals, keep away from protest

[TamilNet, Friday, 06 March 2009, 01:12 GMT]
Around 25 media persons, mostly leftist oriented, took part in a demonstration Thursday noon at Colpetty junction in Colombo, protesting against the manner in which Vithyatharan, the editor of ‘Sudaroli’ Tamil newspaper was 'arrested' by the Sri Lankan Police. Many media activists and journalists kept away from demonstration fearing reprisals by the Colombo government, concerned activists told TamilNet. Colombo Crime Division police personnel, disguised as media men, took photographs of the protesters, according to the participants in the protest.

Siritunga Jayasuriya, the leader of United Socialist Party and Dr. Vickramabahu Karunarante, the president of the Left Front and the general secretary of the NSSP and Human Rights Lawyer, Nimalka Fernando took part in the demonstration.

Colombo based Free Media Movement (FMM), which used to issue timely statements on the injustice caused to journalists, is yet to release a statement on the 'abduction' and later the detention of Vithyatharan by the police, the sources further said. Only a statement was issued on behalf of the five organisations following the 'arrest' of Vithyatharan.

Almost none of the media organizations including FMM, Working Journalists’ Association, Ceylon Tamil Journalists’ Association were present at the demonstration Thursday, complained the participants.

Representatives of the leading Tamil dailies Thinakural and Virakesari were also not seen participating in the demonstration.



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