SLTMA condemns SLA search of Tamil daily
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 16 August 2006, 21:41 GMT]
Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA) in a statement issued Wednesday “condemned the cordon and search operation carried out by the Sri Lankan Armed (SLA) forces on the media office of the Tamil national daily Sudar Oli, Tuesday." The Tamil Media Alliance called upon the Minister to ensure that the "threats posed to the media freedom are stopped and to guarantee the safety and security of Tamil media persons in Sri Lanka."
Translation of the press statement issued in Tamil by the SLTMA follows:
“Sri Lankan Armed forces (SLA) yesterday morning cordoned off the Sudar Oli newspaper offices at Grandpass, Colombo and entered its premises without giving the customary notice, and searched the entire premises including the editorial office.
All media personnel were subjected to a severe interrogation, and their identity cards examined.
The state armed forces refused to recognise the Media Passes of the staff which was issued by the Ministry of Mass Media and Information, and insisted on seeing only the national identity cards.
The Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLMA) vehemently condemns the searches conducted on a media office of a national newspaper by the state armed forces.
We treat this as a carefully orchestrated plan of issuing a threat to the Tamil media establishment as a whole.
Tamil media in general has been at the receiving end of such similar threats, during the recent past.
Even though we brought this to the attention of the Minister for Mass Media and Information on several occasions, no action has been taken against this so far.
The government that claims to be the protector of democracy, is obliged to take steps to protect and safeguard the freedom of the press which is one of the key fundamentals of any democracy.
SLTMA calls on the Media Minister to ensure that the threats posed to the media freedom are stopped and to guarantee the safety and security of Tamil media persons in Sri Lanka."