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US wants attacks on Sri Lankan journalists halted

The US, while calling for a halt to a series of attacks on Sri Lankan journalists and media institutions, has expressed regret that the suspects are rarely apprehended. US Ambassador Michele J. Sisson, during a meeting with the Foreign Correspondents’ Association, in Colombo, earlier this week, said that there had been very little progress in the investigations into assaults  on the Sri Lankan media. ”Attacks against journalists continue to this day and the suspects are rarely apprehended. In the few cases that there had been some arrests, they are almost never  convicted,” she said adding that just last week the ‘Uthayan’ Newspaper office in Killinochchi was attacked by masked assailants, which was another in a series of unsolved violence against the newspaper and its employees over the past several years.The Ambassador noted that many   prominent journalists have fled the country and a number of assaults on the media remained unresolved. This included the 2009 killing of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, the January 2010 abduction of cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda, and the July 2011 attack on Uthayan news editor Gnanasundaram Kuganathan.”We urge the Sri Lankan authorities to fully investigate the Uthayan attack and other assaults on the media and hold the perpetrators accountable,” she said while observing that freedom of expression by all individuals, including the media, was not only an essential democratic prescription, in its own right, but also critical in protecting other democratic institutions and values. In a participatory democracy, people must have access to accurate information about the situation in their country and the activities of their government, if they are to make informed choices which provide the fundamental legitimacy of the government that represents them, Sison noted.Support for freedom of expression, she said, was in fact one of the many recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission Report and was also raised in the March 2013 resolution on Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Author: TELO Admin