As Sri Lanka's civil war escalates, so do attacks on its journalists
Thu June 19, 2008 03:19 EDT .
BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) With civil war raging in Sri Lanka, the journalists trying to cover the conflict find themselves increasingly under siege. ``Those who wish to harass, harm, or even kill journalists can operate with relative impunity in Sri Lanka,'' he wrote.
Days later, Rajapaksa established a committee of government ministers to look into the complaints.
In the face of the violence and intimidation, many journalists said they have stopped reporting information that might embarrass the government.
``We don't want to be pet-poodles of the government, (but) neither to antagonize the military,'' said Ranga Jayasuriya, defense columnist at the Lakbima News newspaper.
Iqbal Athas, a high-profile defense columnist for the Sunday Times who is routinely threatened, said this was the ``worst period'' in his 42-year career.
The government withdrew his security detail after nine years last year when he reported on irregularities in the purchase of fighter jets. The Ministry of Defense Web site accused Athas of working for ``the pro-terrorist propaganda machine'' and trying to sow ``disloyalty, suspicions, disobedience, rumors, etc.'' among troops.
``It's clear that what they want to do is silence me to not write anything they dislike,'' Athas said.
This week, he suspended his column.Discuss this story
Published: Thu Jun 19 06:40:49 EDT 2008