NESOHR: Yet another blow to press freedom in Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Friday, 29 April 2005, 12:49 GMT]
Pointing out that none of the cases of journalist murders in Sri Lanka for the past two decades have been solved, North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR) said: "Abduction and murder of well known journalist Dhramaratnam Sivaram in the capital city Colombo on Thursday April 29th 2005 is yet another blow to the non-existing press freedom in Sri Lanka and yet another nail on the coffin of the dying democracy in Sri Lanka. It is a telling symbolism that he was abducted in front of a police station in Colombo and his body was found only 500 meters behind the parliamentary complex."

Fulltext of the press release by NESOHR:

29TH April 2004
NESOHR is appalled by the murder of well-known journalist Sivaram

Abduction and murder of well known journalist Dhramaratnam Sivaram in the capital city Colombo on Thursday April 29th 2005 is yet another blow to the non-existing press freedom in Sri Lanka and yet another nail on the coffin of the dying democracy in Sri Lanka. It is a telling symbolism that he was abducted in front of a police station in Colombo and his body was found only 500 meters behind the parliamentary complex.

Sivaram joins the long list of outstanding journalists who are said to have been murdered by forces close to the ruling class of the Sri Lankan polity. NESOHR wants to point out that none of the cases of journalist murders in Sri Lanka for the past two decades have been solved. This is an indictment on the government and the police force.

Sivaram's analysis of the political situation in Sri Lanka is keenly read by all including international readers who follow the Sri Lankan situation with interest. His absence will leave vacuum for reports of this type.

In the past Sivaram has received many threats for his insightful analysis. Twice last year scores of Sri Lankan police raided his home on the pretext of searching for weapons. It is believed that these raids were intended as a warning to him to stop his writing. At that time Reporters without Borders (RSF) in their statement said that they are worried about Sivaramís safety. In 2001, Sivaram and another fellow journalist were attacked with clubs in Batticaloa and Sivaram was hospitalized. That attack was also blamed on persons connected with the security forces.

Murder of BBC journalist Mylvaganam Nimalrajan in 2000 in Jaffna and the well-known Tamil journalist G Nadeson in Batticaloa in 2004 were also blamed on forces close to the government.

NESOHR joins the human rights community and those who value press freedom in condemning the abduction and murder of Sivaram.

Fr M X Karunaratnam
Chairperson

 

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