Sri Lanka’s Election After Shock – Media Under Attack

23 Mar 2016

Sri Lankan journalists, for whom intimidation, threats, assault and killings seem to have become unavoidable professional hazards, are bracing themselves for a fresh confrontation with the government as curbs on reporting intensify.
Since Sri Lanka’s January 26  presidential election (won handily by the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa) freelance cartoonist and columnist Prageeth Eknaligoda has disappeared, Lanka Editor Chandana Sirimalwatte has been detained (ostensibly for terrorism offences), and a newspaper has been sealed, only to be forced open by a court order.
In addition, several employees of government-owned media institutions have been victimized, and a number of journalists and media workers have gone into hiding.
"The situation had worsened after a brief respite (general feeling of freedom) a few weeks before the polls," one veteran journalist and editor, who declined to be named for fear of repercussions, told IPS. "There was a sense of freedom or a kind of lull during the election campaign, but when the authorities feared opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka could win, intimidation against the media resumed."
Lakshman Gunasekera, a senior journalist and former editor of the state- owned ‘Sunday Observer’, said the media not only continues to face serious repression but also may "anticipate worsening conditions … as the country enters yet another phase of intense political contest for the parliamentary elections expected in April."
Sourced from:
 Asia Media Forum:
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ Asia-Pacific):