IFJ condemns death threats against a Shakthi TV journalist

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 09:35 GMT]
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Monday said it is deeply concerned for the safety of the head of Tamil-language Shakthi TV, J. Sri Ranga, after police reportedly informed the MTV/MBC network on November 12 that Ranga's life was in grave danger.

According to an IFJ affiliate, the Free Media Movement (FMM), the threats came shortly after the channel broadcast a talk show on the assassination of a Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian.

"Against the backdrop of eroding press freedom and the rising number of journalist murders and assaults in Sri Lanka, this death threat must be taken seriously," IFJ President Christopher Warren said.

According to the FMM, this is not the first time Ranga has received death threats related to the numerous sensitive political issues covered in his weekly popular show, Minnal, yet there has been little progress in investigating these threats.

"Death threats seem to be becoming an increasingly common method used to try and intimidate and influence journalists, and they thus must be treated by authorities as a violation of press freedom," the IFJ President said.

"An environment in which journalists cannot operate without fear for their safety undermines the publicís right to information and will only exacerbate the worsening conflict in Sri Lanka,"he said.

"We now challenge the Sri Lankan authorities to demonstrate their commitment to an open and peaceful Sri Lanka by fully investigating these threats and fostering a safe environment for journalists and media workers," Warren said.


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