28February2017

News from Jaffna: Stories from a garrison town

Despite the dangers involved in working for the Tamil newspaper 'Uthayan' in Jaffna, young journalists like Thadsa still join their ranks. Apart from the chief editor, Uthayan does not have a single news journalist over the age of 40. As they grow older, young journalists come under family pressure to find a safer job. Thadsa is passionate about reporting and wants to cover a story on a journalist who disappeared in 2007, and look into the ongoing restrictions to press freedoms in Sri Lanka today. Al JAzeera exposes the true state of press freedom in Jaffna while telling the inspiring story of the Tamil journalists. 

Disappearances & political prisoners

Disappearances is not a new phenomena in Sri Lanka and it’s prevalence is linked to the culture of impunity which have allowed disappearances-a crime against humanity to go unchecked and very little in the form of investigations being carried out. Similarly, the political prisoners including those who surrendered to the government forces during the last phase of the armed conflict in 2009 have been imprisoned for long periods without any charges being leveled against them. The detailed report produced by Young Asia Television revisit the issues concerning the disappearances and the political prisoners.

Matale Mass Grave: Digging up the dead

The remains of more than 150 people have been excavated in the town of Matale in central Sri Lanka. The skeletal remains were discovered late last year by workers building a facility at a hospital in Matale. Dr Ajith Jayasena, Matale hospital's judicial medical officer in charge of the investigation, told Al Jazeera that the site "is a crime scene". The Matale area was an epicentre of a late 1980s uprising by leftist Sinhalese group, the JVP, in which the state matched the guerrillas' extreme violence. The group says this site could potentially be where some of its members may have been buried. 

Sri Lanka north 'not just for Tamils'

One of the most powerful men in Sri Lanka, the Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has told the BBC it is not appropriate to see the north of the country as a predominantly Tamil area. "Earlier before the war, all were Sinhalese," Mr Rajapaksa said. The north was the epicentre of a decades-long insurgency by the Tamil Tiger or LTTE separatists who wanted a separate homeland for the island's ethnic Tamil minority. BBC Colombo correspondent Charles Haviland asked Mr Rajapaksa to comment on the recent replacement of some senior Tamil officials with Sinhalese ones in northern Sri Lanka.

Frederica Jansz and media crackdown in Sri Lanka

When the 'Sunday Leader’s editor Lasantha Wickramatunga was gunned down in 2009, he saw it coming. We know that because he wrote an editorial on his own death, published posthumously in his paper, in which he blamed his killing on the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Wickramatunga's successor, Frederica Jansz, had her own run-ins with the government, including an extraordinary clash with the president's brother, Sri Lanka's defence minister. Al Jazeera's Meenakshi Ravi speaks to Frederica Jansz in order find out what made one of Sri Lanka's prominent journalists leave her home country. 

Moving Sri Lanka Forward: How far from reality is it?

The Agenda with Steve Paikin, TV Ontario's flagship current affairs program, explores what young Canadians with ties to Sri Lanka could do  for recovery and reconciliation in the aftermath of the civil war. The panelists, representing Canadian Tamil and Sinhala Diaspora communities include  Krisna saravanamuttu (National Director, National Council of Canadian Tamils), Neethan Shan (President, National Democratic Party, Ontario branch), Romesh Hettiarachchi (Advisor, Young Canadians' Peace Dialogue on Sri Lanka) and Natale Dankotuwage (Board Member, Sri Lankans Without Borders).

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Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

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