SLTMA condemns assassination of Tamil Journalist

[TamilNet, Thursday, 29 May 2008, 00:34 GMT]
Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA) in a statement issued Wednesday condemned the killing of Jaffna based journalist P.Thevakumar and his friend by armed men, and said that such killings have diminished the ability of general public to have access to information and had raised questions on media democracy.

Jaffna region journalist P.Thevakumar , 34 working for Colombo based Shakthi TV and his friend Mahenthiran Varathan , 24, a computer technician were killed after being hacked to death Wednesday afternoon 4:00 p.m. in Naavvanthurai, Jaffna by unidentified men, sources said. Mr. Devakumaran, who was a resident of Kokkuthuduwai, had joined the Maharajah Group in 2005 as the Jaffna correspondent of the three news channels.

The excerpts of the statement follow:

“The Alliance is deeply concerned by the failure of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) which has failed to take any action to safeguard the media personnel and media freedom, though repeated appeals were made to GOSL and the authorities concerned and heavy pressure exerted on them.

“Beginning with the killing of journalist Nirmalarajan in 2000, up to now nine journalists and employees of media organizations have been killed in Jaffna. However, no proper inquiries have been conducted regarding these killings. Though a few suspects were arrested by the armed forces no one has been convicted.

“The killing of Jaffna journalist occurred within five days of the joint protest staged in Colombo by five media groups condemning the abduction and assault of Keith Noyahr, the joint editor of the English weekly “The Nation."

“Such killings have made the ability of general public to have access to information and the media democracy questionable. As such SLTMA makes this public call for proper investigations to be held and the culprits produced before courts.


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