SLA warns Jaffna journalist
[TamilNet, Sunday, 14 May 2000, 20:15 GMT]
The Sri Lanka army in Jaffna reprimanded and warned senior Jaffna journalist Mr.C.N Vithyatharan today for publishing in his paper a story about the Sri Lankan President breaking into tears during her meeting with Indian Air Force chief A.Y Tipnis last week. He was also severely warned that action would be taken against him for publishing in his paper, Uthayan, the names of the five civlians, including two children, who were killed in the Sri Lanka Air Force bombing in Pooneryn on Friday, May 12.
The SLA summoned Vithyatharan during the day and told him that he had no right under the recently promulgated regulations of the Public Security Ordinance to publish these news stories in the Uthayan.
However, Mr. Vithyatharan pointed out that there is no competent authority in Jaffna to censor the Uthayan now.
The SLA had charged that the Uthayan is creating apprehensions in the minds of the Jaffna people by putting out such stories.
Mr. Vithyatharan said that he is concerned about the SLA's attitude towards him and the Uthayan paper at this juncture.
Under the draconian regulations, the censor, or the competent authority, has been granted full powers to bring within his purview all news papers in the island. All editorial material in the media has to be approved by the competent authority before publication. All copies relating to the war are unrecognizably 'chopped' journalists say.
"But given the fighting and the disruption of communications with Jaffna, we cannot expect the Uthayan paper to fax all the stories to the government's Media Centre in Colombo; and then patiently await a response from the censor. Deadlines cannot be met in Jaffna under such circumstances" Mr. Vithyatharan said.
The Sri Lanka Air Force on Friday claimed that it had bombed the LTTE's supply point to the peninsula at the Sangupiddy jetty on Friday, 12 May.
The Uthayan paper, however, said in its columns today that the SLAF had bombed Pallikudah, a coastal hamlet in the Pooneryn sector, and published the list of civilians who were killed in the Kfir bombing on Friday.
The printing presses of news papers which violate the regulations can be seized by the comptetent authority. The Uthayan is edited and published from its offices in Jaffna town.