SL President pooh-poohs Gothabaya death threat

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 18 April 2007, 11:05 GMT]
Before leaving for Italy Wednesday, Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa telephoned Ms. Champika Liyanarachchi, editor of the Daily Mirror, in a bid to defuse the controversy that has erupted over the death threats she received Tuesday from Defence Secretary Gotathabaya Rajapaksa. The President had suggested to Ms. Liyanarachchi that she had overreacted to Mr. Gotabhaya’s “expressions of concern for her safety,” Presidential Secretariat sources said.

On Tuesday Gothabaya had threatened Ms. Liyanarachchi, saying the paper’s coverage of actions of the Karuna Group had angered the Army-backed paramilitaries.

According to the Free Media Movement (FMM), the Defence Secretary had telephoned the editor to say she should not be surprised if the Karuna Group turned its violence against her and if so, she shouldn’t expect government protection.

Sources close to the Daily Mirror said Tuesday that Mr. Gothabaya had been explicit.

Speaking in English, the incensed Defence Secretary vowed to Ms. Liyanarachchi: “I’ll exterminate you!”

He had also attacked another journalist with the Daily Mirror, Uditha Jayasinha, describing her as “a prostitute whose mother has been sleeping with the Tigers.”

On Wednesday morning President Rajapakse telephoned Ms. Liyanarachchi, saying the incident had been brought his notice by ‘a journalist.’

The President said that Mr. Gothabaya had only wanted to “express his concern for [Ms. Liyanarachchi’s] safety” after her paper published an article on violence by the Karuna Group and suggested the government was complicit.

Ironically, Ms. Liyanarachchi was seen by many as having good links with President Rajapakse’s administration and political camp.

Amid widespread expectation that Mr. Mahinda’s archrival, Ranil Wickremesinghe would win the 2005 President elections, she was the first commentator to emphatically argue the opposite, a media analyst said.

And in an interview to the BBC Sinhala service, Laksham Hulugalle, Director General of the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS), said of Ms Liyanarachchi: “we work closely work with her and I’m sure the Defence Secretary would never have said those things.”

“He’s not there to threaten journalists but to protect the country from threats,” Mr. Hulugalle said of Mr. Gothabaya.

However the FMM noted that government leaders had criticized Daily Mirror on previous occasions as well over is coverage of the conflict.

“It is an open secret that government leaders and close allies are pressurizing independent media to toe its line on war and peace. We see … a calculated process of coercion by the Government that forces media to abandon its role watch-dog of democracy, and instead adopt the supine role of a lap dog to those in power.”


Chronology:

 

Latest 15 Reports
19.04.18 21:15   Photo
JUSU urges Tamils to mark Mu'l'livaaykkaal Remembrance in its true spirit of uprising
18.04.18 23:03  
Cooray emerges as broker of civil contracts to occupying Sinhala military in North
17.04.18 23:31  
SL Resettlement Ministry twists figures on lands seized by Sinhala military in North
16.04.18 20:02  
Mano Ganesan challenged in Jaffna, politician complains of threat
15.04.18 10:13  
7 DS officials under pressure to collaborate with Sinhala colonisation schemes in Batticaloa
14.04.18 23:19  
Colombo schemes new type of subservient CSD colonies in Jaffna diverting foreign aid
13.04.18 23:18   Photo
SL military brings back paramilitary violence to control peaceful protests as NGO tricks fail
12.04.18 19:03  
SL Forest department blocks access to 300 acres of agricultural lands in Ampaa'rai
11.04.18 23:20  
Tamil political prisoner launches hunger-strike at Anuradhapura prison
10.04.18 18:19  
Genocidal Sri Lanka imposes forcible military training for CSD pre-school teachers
09.04.18 11:40   Photo
Fisheries society cautiously welcomes Court decision on fishing access to Naayaa'ru Tamils
08.04.18 23:28  
Militarisation of pre-schools akin to child soldiering: NPC Education Minister
07.04.18 21:34  
Muslim politicians block relocation of SL military base in Batticaloa
06.04.18 06:35   Photo
NPC finally awakens against SL Mahaweli Authority obstructing territorial integrity of Tamil homeland
05.04.18 16:46  
Vavuniyaa Judge warns SL Attorney General against delaying tactics on TPP cases
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=21922