Avoid criticism, pay ransom, paramilitaries tell Tamil dailies

[TamilNet, Saturday, 09 December 2006, 12:34 GMT]
Following a 7th December press release by the Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) that "pro-government militia led by Tamil warlord Karuna" has issued death threats to distributors preventing the circulation of the papers in Batticaloa, paramilitary TMVP office in Colombo placed conditions as they attempted to negotiate with the management of Colombo Tamil dailies of allowing circulation of papers in Batticaloa SLA controlled areas, Tamil media sources in Colombo said.

The paramilitaries demanded the Management of the Colombo dailies to:
  • avoid reporting on Tamil national perspective,
  • promote paramilitary material, and
  • provide a rupee per copy per day as commission to the paramilitary,
sources said.

RSF, in the press release, "called on media and information minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa to act quickly to ensure that all Tamil newspapers can circulate freely in areas controlled by the government."

The Sunday editions of all three Tamil dailies, Thinakural, Virakesari and Sudar Oli, cannot circulate because of threats to distributors by the militia.

"Karuna banned all four of the Virakesari press group's newspapers on 23 October. Sales were able to resume after the government issued a statement condemning this press freedom violation. The president himself ordered the chief of police to prevent further attacks on Tamil newspapers on 27 October. A ban on Sudar Oli and Thinakural has been in effect for much longer," the press release said.


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