Feature Article

Death warrants to journalists?

[TamilNet, Friday, 06 June 2008, 02:03 GMT]
The threats posed by the contents of two Sri Lanka Defense Ministry website articles "are in effect a death warrant to journalists and editors of the media," the Free Media Movement (FMM), a Colombo-based media watchdog, said in a statement issued this week. Noting that the articles make serious allegations against "former FMM Convenor Sunanda Deshapriya, Sunday Times Associate Editor and defence columnist Iqbal Athas, and eight news outlets," International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Asia-Pacific said, “The Government of Sri Lanka must show it has the authority to order an end to these hate-inspiring attacks by defence personnel against independent media voices.”

PDF IconStop Media treachery against armed forces...
PDF IconDeriding the war heroes for a living...
Defence Ministry pointed out that "terrorists intensify psychological operations and propaganda against the defence authorities" when military gains success and the "government adapts a bold uncompromising policy against terrorism," and expressed repugnance at the recent trends in the sections of the media which showed anti-Sri Lankan sentiments "reaching its highest levels in the last three decade."

Pointedly labeling journalists as "cowboy defence analysts" writing "crap to the newspapers" including "foul reportage on the Muhamalai incident to record the army deaths in hundreds," and carrying out "malicious propaganda campaign against members of the armed forces," the Sri Lanka Defense Ministry said, it will "continue to expose these traitors and their sinister motives and does not consider such exposure as a threat to media freedom."

Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based press rights watchdog, said it was "very shocked" by the comments and accused the ministry of giving "indirect support and justification for all the recent violence against the press," according an AFP report.

Defense Ministry called upon "all members of the armed forces to unite and guard against these treacherous media campaign against them," and appealed to "all responsible media persons to not to undermine the soldiers' effort for the greater good of the country." The editorial further said, "[a]ny division of interests between us will only give the advantage to the common enemy and hand over our burden to another generation."


Related Articles:
28.05.08   Gotabhaya 'warns' activists of state-owned media

External Links:
FMM: Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence viciously attacks independent media
AFP: Sri Lanka's defence ministry lashes out at war reporting
SLDefence: Stop Media treachery against armed forces members!
IFJ: Government of Sri Lanka Must Order End to Anti-Media Slanders
SLDefence: Deriding the war heroes for a living - the ugly face of "Defence Analysts" in Sri Lanka


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