FMM condemns SLA searches of Jaffna press

[TamilNet, Monday, 09 January 2006, 11:01 GMT]
Free Media Movement (FMM) in a press released issued Monday in Colombo condemned the cordon and search of the office of Jaffna Tamil daily Yal Thinnakkural on Friday by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers and urged the "authorities to look in these complains without delay and instruct security forces to respect freedom of information rights of all and journalist right to cover all issues of public interest."

Full text of the release follows:

Another Newspaper office in Jaffna searched by Sri Lankan Army

Free Media movement express its disappointment and condemns the search of the office of Jaffna Tamil daily Yal Thinnakkural. Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers cordoned off and searched the office of Jaffna daily Yarl Thinakkural on 05th Friday 2.45 p.m.

According to information received by FMM SLA searched editorial section, press section, administrative section and advertisement section.

According to Tamil Net, SLA came after a photographer who was taking pictures of events unfolding after a grenade attack on military sentry point but the man escaped. Angered by this SLA troopers claimed that the said photographer worked for the Thinakkural daily and decided to search the office.

In any case, cordon and search operations of newspaper offices will have an adverse effect of freedom of expression and journalist rights in Jaffna. This is the second such operation conducted by SLA in Jaffna within short period.

In the mean while Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance in a statement issued today complained that senior photographer Tamil daily Veerakesari Mr. Joy Jeyakumar was summoned to the office of the Colombo CID on January 5th for inquiry. He was questioned by CID officials from 10.30 a.m. till 11 a.m. on whether the photographs published on the arrest and detention of Tamil residents in Wellawatte Police Station in Colombo in the Sunday issue of Veerakesari of January 1st were taken by him or supplied by others.

This also a clear violation of journalists right to information and could be regarded as another instance of intimidation of Tamil journalists by government security forces.

FMM urge the authorities to look in these complains without delay and instruct security forces to respect freedom of information rights of all and journalist right to cover all issues of public interest.

Sunanda Deshapriya -
Spokesperson,

 

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