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Killings threaten press freedom- SLTMA

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 01 June 2004, 02:53 GMT]
"We urge all those who cherish press freedom and democracy to pressure the Sri Lanka Government to take immediate steps to safeguard the journalists from murder and harassment, and to bring to justice those who perpetrate dastardly crimes on Tamil journalists who question oppression and injustice," said members of the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA), in a memorandum released Tuesday.

The memorandum further said: "We consider the murder of our colleague Aiyathurai Nadesan as a serious warning to all Tamil journalists, especially to those working in the NorthEast. These horrendous acts are designed to strangle journalists from speaking out.

"Four years have passed since the killing of BBC Tamil service reporter Nimalarajan in Jaffna. Investigations carried out by the Sri Lanka Government authorities have been mainly symbolic, and the perpetrators of the crime are still free. Today, in the East, Nadesan has been murdered.

"Journalist Nadesan is a founding member of the Tamil Media Alliance and served as a vice president. While we express our condolences to members of Nadesan's family, we request all Tamil journalists to attend his funeral and pay respects to his services to the community," said the memorandum.

The Tamil Media Alliance sent copies of its memorandum to Reporters Without Borders, International Federation of Journalists and several other media outlets, sources said.

Meanwhile, the Liberation Tigers have alleged that Mr. Nadesan's murder is part of a campaign by elements of the Sri Lanka Army against their cadres, supporters and intellectuals who agree with their political stand in the Batticaloa-Amparai region.

The SLA is using several Tamil paramilitary groups, including the 'Karuna' group that recently broke away from the LTTE, in its campaign, the Tigers say. The head of the LTTE's political wing in Batticaloa-Amparai, Mr. E. Kausalyan, said in May, "Karuna's rebellion has become routine explanation for the attacks on [the LTTE]. But these are being organized by the Sinhala military."

 

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