Tamil journalists in Sri Lanka’s east facing death threats

A group of Tamil journalists from Sri Lanka’s east have been threatened with death.

The threat was published in bills carrying photographs of seven journalists.

Some of the leaflets were thrust under door of the Batticaloa press club office.

Krishnakumar of Independent Television Network (ITN), Selvakumar Nilanthan of Lanka Sri website, Punniyamoorthy Sasikaran, Kuharasa Subojan and Nallathambi Nithyananthan of Maharaja Tevevision, Vadivel Shakthivel and Subramaniam Kunalingam of the Thinakkural newspaper had their faces circled in the photograph in the leaflet.

'Death penalty

The photograph had been taken at an event to honour Sunday Leader founder editor Lasantha Wickrematunga slain in January 2009.

“These are the foreign tiger-funded reporters who publish news against the government. We will soon deliver the death penalty to them,” it said.

The Batticaloa Press Club was gearing up to commemorate murdered and disappeared journalists and media workers.

“This is clearly an attempt to intimidate us to stop demanding justice for our fallen colleagues,” a media activist told JDS from Batticaloa who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals.

The threats come following a resurgence of attacks against liberties with the newly elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa launching his agenda of militarising and securitising the country.

A majority of media workers killed in Sri Lanka were Tamils employed in the north and east. Paramilitary groups sponsored by state intelligence have been accused of carrying out murders of journalists and activists in the east.

A list compiled by JDS containing names of 44 journalists and media workers killed between 2004 and 2010 had been handed over to the former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in 2015 by activists in Colombo. No investigations have been carried out so far.



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.