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World Press Freedom Day

May 3, 2009



1. Get the message to your government – click her to find out how
2. Support organisations calling for free press in Sri Lanka

Amidst the ban on media, several organisations maintain a continuous coverage of the situation unfolding in Sri Lanka. We must acknowledge and encourage their work. Even a small email thanking them for their effort to cover the war without witnesses will be appreciated.

Amnesty Australia

Reporters Without Borders


Pen writes about the release of Nadesapillai Vithyatharan.

3 . Create awareness
If you are on facebook, change your display picture to the attached image on this post. You will be able to right click and save it down to your desktop. Change your status to ‘Free Media…Two Beautiful Words to the Government of Sri Lanka.’ Add all your friends and increase awareness.

Note that Tamil Journalist J.S. Tissainayagam who has been locked up by the Sri Lankan Government has been mentioned in President Obama’s World Press Freedom speech. Click here to read speech

Click here for Release Tissainayagam blog

Committee to Protect Journalists – Obama, Clinton acknowledge World Press Freedom Day

RSF – Reporters Without Borders welcomes President’s statement in honor of World Press Freedom Day

3 Comments leave one →
  1. fastuntoactionaust permalink
    May 3, 2009 10:27 am

    Go to this link, add name, email and copy the letter comment below or add one of your own, before clicking send. Click on link, scroll and press continue to be taken to the message box.

    To : Hon. Mr Kevin Rudd

    I am writing on the occasion of 3rd May, World Press Freedom Day, to call for an end to impunity for those who murder and attack journalists, and to ask you to ensure the basic right to freedom of expression is protected in Sri Lanka.

    I applaud UNESCO’s decision in posthumously awarding the 2009 World Press Freedom Award to Lasantha Wickrematunga. Often critical of government policies and the ongoing war on Tamils, his dedication to investigative reporting resulted in two personal assaults, a machine-gun attack on his home and eventually his murder – none of which have been investigated. As penned by Lasantha himself, “In all these cases, I have reason to believe the attacks were inspired by the government. When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me.”

    Sri Lanka has become one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. Amnesty International said in March, “At least 14 media workers have been unlawfully killed in Sri Lanka since the beginning of 2006.” Through restrictions, threats and violence, a vacuum of independent reporting has enabled human rights abuses to flourish in Sri Lanka. This is of immediate concern in a conflict zone where civilian casualties are high and breaches of international humanitarian law cannot be verified.

    I earnestly call on you to take all necessary action to urge the Sri Lankan government to lift its unjustified restrictions on reporting, investigate all attacks against media personell and restore media freedom in Sri Lanka.

    Yours sincerely,

  2. fastuntoactionaust permalink
    May 3, 2009 10:35 pm

    ——— Forwarded message ———-
    From: Sydney PEN
    Date: Sat, May 2, 2009 at 1:14 PM
    Subject: Sri Lanka – Newspaper Editor Released
    To: Sydney PEN

    Dear Fellow Letter Writers,

    I am so pleased to be able to pass on some good news to you. International PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee has just informed us of the release, on 24 April 2009, of newspaper editor Nadesapillai Vithyatharan, who had been held since 26 February 2009 under emergency legislation, apparently for his reporting and activism. In March, a number of you wrote to Columbo on Vithyatharan’s behalf.

    According to PEN’s information, Nadesapillai Vithyatharan, editor-in-chief of the Tamil-language dailies Sudar Oli and Uthayan, was released from prison as ordered by a Court in Colombo on 24 April 2009. The Colombo Criminal Division (CCD) and other departments leading the investigation against Vithyatharan dropped the case for lack of evidence, after he had spent two months behind bars for alleged terrorist activities.

    I’m sure it will interest you to know that we recently had a reply to our letters from Kathy Klugman, Australia’s High Commissioner in Sri Lanka. She wrote ‘This High Commission is closely following developments relating to Mr Vithyatharan’s detention. We are in direct contact with his family and management of the newspapers regarding his welfare. I assure you that the High Commission does engage the Sri Lankan authorities at senior levels on Australia’s concerns about media freedom and safety in Sri Lanka, including raising individual cases.’ I will write to Ms Klugman today, thanking her on our behalf, for her undertakings.

    Best wishes,

    Gaby Naher

    Chair, Writers in Prison Committee

  3. tmorgan permalink
    September 2, 2009 3:45 am

    Freedom does come with some responsibilities but the burden on the Lankan govt is to make “hate speech” Laws & then prove he incited violence, not to use terrorist laws to subvert Lanka’s constitutional protections. If Judge Deepali Wijesundara belongs to any international associations, I hope they censure her.

    [Karuna] abducted and forcibly enlisted child soldiers being given a ministerial position and someone who voiced out his dissent being clapped in prison for 20 year under RI! Isn’t that twisted?

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