Police action threatens freedom of expression- IFJ
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 27 July 2004, 12:06 GMT]
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), a
global organisation representing over 500,000
journalists worldwide, has today condemned recent
actions by the Sri Lankan police threatening freedom
of expression in Sri Lanka.
"It is the responsibility of the police to work to
protect journalists' rights and to act in the
interests of a free press, not against it," said IFJ
President Christopher Warren today.
On 23 July 2004, a dozen police raided the house of
Dharmaratnam Sivaram a columnist with the Daily Mirror
and board member of the news website tamilnet.com. It
was the second raid by police in three months, the
previous raid occurring on 3 May.
In a separate incident, on 21 July police disrupted a
joint protest organised by press freedom organisations
in Colombo. Police blocked the highway to the South
and ordered vehicles to take byroads in an effort to
disrupt the protest. Up to 400 people attended the
demonstration. The demonstration was protesting the
police assault on 14 July of journalists covering a
funeral in Kosgoda, Galle district in Southern Sri
Lanka. At the 14 July incident, police assaulted four
In a letter to the Government of Sri Lanka, the IFJ
condemned the actions taken by the police in these
incidents and called for a public explanation for the
raid of Sivaram's house.
"The actions taken by the police are deplorable and
the Government needs to act immediately to quash this
heavy-handed approach being taken by the Sri Lankan
security forces," said Warren.
In a separate incident, the IFJ has called for an
investigation into the shooting of Sada Sangaralingam
Kamaladasan, a journalist with the Thinamurusu Tamil
weekly on 26 July. Kamaladasan was shot in the legs
and is in a critical condition in Batticolo hospital.
There is no known motive for the shooting.
The IFJ has condemned the shooting and called on the
authorities to launch a full investigation into the
Further information is available on in the IFJ Asia
website at www.ifj-asia.org