Sri Lankan journalist granted bail

Great news!  The detained Sri Lankan journalist, J.S. Tissainayagam, was granted bail today by the court in Sri Lanka.  He is appealing the 20-year sentence he received last August under Sri Lanka’s draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act, all for publishing two magazine articles critical of the government’s conduct of the war against the Tamil Tigers.  Amnesty International considers him to be a “prisoner of conscience,” imprisoned solely for his legitimate journalistic activities, and calls for his immediate, unconditional release.  Last May, President Obama singled him out for praise as an emblematic example of journalists unjustly imprisoned for exercising their profession.  Today, the court granted his application to be released on bail while his appeal against the 20-year sentence is pending.

While it’s great that he won’t be in prison while his appeal is pending, he should never have been charged or tried in the first place.  We’ll keep working on his behalf until he’s free of the unjust charges brought against him.  Please join our campaign and call for his immediate, unconditional release.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

153 thoughts on “Sri Lankan journalist granted bail

  1. A good news but I’m worried that this is only an election gimmick.

    A Full pardon is much better :)

  2. Of course a pardon is needed. :) :) :)
    This is where the much maligned Human Rights groups can have influence in getting political prisoners freed and that is what he is a poltical prisoner.

  3. A good news but I’m worried that this is only an election gimmick.

    A Full pardon is much better :)

  4. Of course a pardon is needed. :) :) :)
    This is where the much maligned Human Rights groups can have influence in getting political prisoners freed and that is what he is a poltical prisoner.

  5. Jim McDonald what could be done about 140 “ missing “Tamil students ?
    —————————————————————————————————————

    Nearly 140 Tamil university students have "disappeared" during the conflict between the government forces and the LTTE, the main students union in Sri Lanka said.

    Inter University Students Union (IUSF) has called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to reveal details of the disappeared students.

    "These students are not dead but there have been some reports that they were in different camps at different times," IUSF convenor Udul Premaratne told the journalists in Colombo.

    "But no list of detainees was released by the police or security forces," he said.

    60 students 'detained'

    The IUSF says it condemns continuing detention of Tamils as the war against the LTTE is over.

    The IUSF, a union affiliated to the JVP, supported Rajapaksa administration's war against the Tamil Tigers.

    Udul Premaratne however now argues that it is unnecessary to arrest and detain "even a suicide bomber".

    "The government has to offer Tamils full rights if it wants to stop the re-emergence of terrorism," he said.

    The Rajapaksa administration, the convenor added, has detained over 60 university students for nearly a year.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sinhala/news/story/2010/01/1

  6. Jim McDonald what could be done about 140 “ missing “Tamil students ?
    —————————————————————————————————————

    Nearly 140 Tamil university students have "disappeared" during the conflict between the government forces and the LTTE, the main students union in Sri Lanka said.

    Inter University Students Union (IUSF) has called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to reveal details of the disappeared students.

    "These students are not dead but there have been some reports that they were in different camps at different times," IUSF convenor Udul Premaratne told the journalists in Colombo.

    "But no list of detainees was released by the police or security forces," he said.

    60 students 'detained'

    The IUSF says it condemns continuing detention of Tamils as the war against the LTTE is over.

    The IUSF, a union affiliated to the JVP, supported Rajapaksa administration's war against the Tamil Tigers.

    Udul Premaratne however now argues that it is unnecessary to arrest and detain "even a suicide bomber".

    "The government has to offer Tamils full rights if it wants to stop the re-emergence of terrorism," he said.

    The Rajapaksa administration, the convenor added, has detained over 60 university students for nearly a year.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sinhala/news/story/2010/01/1

  7. Jim McDonald what could be done about 140 “ missing “Tamil students ?
    —————————————————————————————————————

    Nearly 140 Tamil university students have "disappeared" during the conflict between the government forces and the LTTE, the main students union in Sri Lanka said.

    Inter University Students Union (IUSF) has called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to reveal details of the disappeared students.

    "These students are not dead but there have been some reports that they were in different camps at different times," IUSF convenor Udul Premaratne told the journalists in Colombo.

    "But no list of detainees was released by the police or security forces," he said.

    60 students 'detained'

    The IUSF says it condemns continuing detention of Tamils as the war against the LTTE is over.

    The IUSF, a union affiliated to the JVP, supported Rajapaksa administration's war against the Tamil Tigers.

    Udul Premaratne however now argues that it is unnecessary to arrest and detain "even a suicide bomber".

    "The government has to offer Tamils full rights if it wants to stop the re-emergence of terrorism," he said.

    The Rajapaksa administration, the convenor added, has detained over 60 university students for nearly a year.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sinhala/news/story/2010/01/1

  8. Well, that's great news, and I feel grateful that he was granted bail, but it would be even better if he would be given an uncondtitional release. :)

  9. Hello Debbie Kearns

    This is indeed a good news,

    But I’m worried that this is only an election gimmick and he will be rearrested as soon as MR will be re-elected ….

  10. Jim McDonald what could be done about 140 “ missing “Tamil students ?
    —————————————————————————————————————

    Nearly 140 Tamil university students have “disappeared” during the conflict between the government forces and the LTTE, the main students union in Sri Lanka said.

    Inter University Students Union (IUSF) has called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to reveal details of the disappeared students.

    “These students are not dead but there have been some reports that they were in different camps at different times,” IUSF convenor Udul Premaratne told the journalists in Colombo.

    “But no list of detainees was released by the police or security forces,” he said.

    60 students ‘detained’

    The IUSF says it condemns continuing detention of Tamils as the war against the LTTE is over.

    The IUSF, a union affiliated to the JVP, supported Rajapaksa administration’s war against the Tamil Tigers.

    Udul Premaratne however now argues that it is unnecessary to arrest and detain “even a suicide bomber”.

    “The government has to offer Tamils full rights if it wants to stop the re-emergence of terrorism,” he said.

    The Rajapaksa administration, the convenor added, has detained over 60 university students for nearly a year.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sinhala/news/story/2010/01/100111_tamil_students.shtml

  11. These threads usually bring out all the reactionary Sinhala nationalists.
    The complicity of the great powers in the mass murder of Tamils must be pointed out. The US and Europe said nothing while thousands of Tamil civilians were blown away. Only when victory was assured did the great powers begin to cynically criticize the atrocities. Another reason why western powers began to criticize the Sri Lankans was because they were worried the Tamils in India would start rioting if the war crimes against Sri Lankan Tamils didn't stop and this could have potentially endangered American and European economic interests in India. Sri Lanka was aided in its brutal campaign against the Tamil minority by the US, China, Pakistan, India, and Israel. China has drastically increased the amount of its investments in Sri Lanka and the Americans are worried about Sri Lanka becoming China-oriented, since this would give China control over the strategically crucial waters around Sri Lanka. The US is determined to block China's efforts to gain the upper hand in Sri Lanka. Indian interference through the years has also made things worse than they had to be. It is absolutely stunning that the Rajapaksa regime is being allowed to go on acting as if nothing has happened. It is also an ominous sign that any country in the world can get away with crimes against humanity as long as they label their enemies as "terrorists".

  12. Well, that’s great news, and I feel grateful that he was granted bail, but it would be even better if he would be given an uncondtitional release. :)

  13. Hello Debbie Kearns

    This is indeed a good news,

    But I’m worried that this is only an election gimmick and he will be rearrested as soon as MR will be re-elected ….

  14. These threads usually bring out all the reactionary Sinhala nationalists.
    The complicity of the great powers in the mass murder of Tamils must be pointed out. The US and Europe said nothing while thousands of Tamil civilians were blown away. Only when victory was assured did the great powers begin to cynically criticize the atrocities. Another reason why western powers began to criticize the Sri Lankans was because they were worried the Tamils in India would start rioting if the war crimes against Sri Lankan Tamils didn’t stop and this could have potentially endangered American and European economic interests in India. Sri Lanka was aided in its brutal campaign against the Tamil minority by the US, China, Pakistan, India, and Israel. China has drastically increased the amount of its investments in Sri Lanka and the Americans are worried about Sri Lanka becoming China-oriented, since this would give China control over the strategically crucial waters around Sri Lanka. The US is determined to block China’s efforts to gain the upper hand in Sri Lanka. Indian interference through the years has also made things worse than they had to be. It is absolutely stunning that the Rajapaksa regime is being allowed to go on acting as if nothing has happened. It is also an ominous sign that any country in the world can get away with crimes against humanity as long as they label their enemies as “terrorists”.

  15. In response to Tamil Kovil's comments above, please stick to the topic originally raised in my entry above. This forum is meant for reasoned, thoughtful discussion of the issues raised by the original entry, not for other issues that commentors feel like publicizing. Please do not abuse the opportunity to comment.

    For those interested, Amnesty International today issued a public statement on Tissainayagam being granted bail – http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/good-n….

  16. In response to Tamil Kovil's comments above, please stick to the topic originally raised in my entry above. This forum is meant for reasoned, thoughtful discussion of the issues raised by the original entry, not for other issues that commentors feel like publicizing. Please do not abuse the opportunity to comment.

    For those interested, Amnesty International today issued a public statement on Tissainayagam being granted bail – http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/good-n….

  17. In response to Tamil Kovil's comments above, please stick to the topic originally raised in my entry above. This forum is meant for reasoned, thoughtful discussion of the issues raised by the original entry, not for other issues that commentors feel like publicizing. Please do not abuse the opportunity to comment.

    For those interested, Amnesty International today issued a public statement on Tissainayagam being granted bail – http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/good-n….

  18. In response to Tamil Kovil’s comments above, please stick to the topic originally raised in my entry above. This forum is meant for reasoned, thoughtful discussion of the issues raised by the original entry, not for other issues that commentors feel like publicizing. Please do not abuse the opportunity to comment.

    For those interested, Amnesty International today issued a public statement on Tissainayagam being granted bail – http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/good-news/jailed-sri-lankan-journalist-released-bail-20100112.

  19. Well said Tamil Kovil :) :)

    I think, we all need to learn more about the history of the country that you are staying at.

    JVP came existence in the last 40 years.

    LTTE came into existence in the last 30 years.

    Long before the LTTE the Tamils were simply butchered by the Sri Lankan government and the racist Sinhalese + JVP for asking for equal rights.

    When the Tamils couldn’t take it anymore the Tamil youths rose up and took arms to defend the Tamil people eventually forming the Tamils were fighting for equal rights and now fighting for the right to be free from an oppressive government, not for wealth.

    Ignoring the history and just talking about the recent phase of the conflict will not help.

  20. The arrest and release of Tissanayagam both display the extent to which the Executive has control over the Police, Attorney General and his department.

    Their interpretation of the Laws of the land changes according to the whims and fancies of the Executive.

  21. Jim McDonald

    This is confusing!

    What happen to the 300 000 Tamils from the internment camps ?

    So around 100,000 civilians remaining in military-run camps .

    Do those civilians have a freedom of movement ?

    Who can verify the GoSL assertions.

    A large portion of the more than 150,000 people recently sent out of the camps have not actually returned to their homes nor been resettled.

    They’ve been sent to and remain in “transit centers” in their home districts.

    And again do those civilians have a freedom of movement ?

  22. Well said Tamil Kovil :) :)

    I think, we all need to learn more about the history of the country that you are staying at.

    JVP came existence in the last 40 years.

    LTTE came into existence in the last 30 years.

    Long before the LTTE the Tamils were simply butchered by the Sri Lankan government and the racist Sinhalese + JVP for asking for equal rights.

    When the Tamils couldn’t take it anymore the Tamil youths rose up and took arms to defend the Tamil people eventually forming the Tamils were fighting for equal rights and now fighting for the right to be free from an oppressive government, not for wealth.

    Ignoring the history and just talking about the recent phase of the conflict will not help.

  23. The arrest and release of Tissanayagam both display the extent to which the Executive has control over the Police, Attorney General and his department.

    Their interpretation of the Laws of the land changes according to the whims and fancies of the Executive.

  24. In response to comments by Tamil Kovil and Krishna, please do not attempt to turn this forum into a general discussion of Sri Lankan history. This forum is meant to allow thoughtful discussion of the topics raised by the original post. I think it would be reasonable to discuss Tissainayagam's case and issues relating to freedom of expression in Sri Lanka, but not the relations in general between different communities in Sri Lanka over whatever time period one picks. Please do not abuse the opportunity to comment.

    My response to Natasha Miller's comment, accordingly, is that this is not the place to discuss issues relating to IDPs. I will note, briefly, that AI hasn't issued anything publicly on the issue since December 1 of last year, and that we continue to closely monitor the situation. When we have something to say publicly again, I'll probably post a new entry on this blog. Those interested should visit http://www.amnestyusa.org/srilanka to keep up with what AI says on Sri Lanka.

  25. Jim McDonald

    This is confusing!

    What happen to the 300 000 Tamils from the internment camps ?

    So around 100,000 civilians remaining in military-run camps .

    Do those civilians have a freedom of movement ?

    Who can verify the GoSL assertions.

    A large portion of the more than 150,000 people recently sent out of the camps have not actually returned to their homes nor been resettled.

    They’ve been sent to and remain in “transit centers” in their home districts.

    And again do those civilians have a freedom of movement ?

  26. Pingback: uberVU - social comments

  27. In response to comments by Tamil Kovil and Krishna, please do not attempt to turn this forum into a general discussion of Sri Lankan history. This forum is meant to allow thoughtful discussion of the topics raised by the original post. I think it would be reasonable to discuss Tissainayagam's case and issues relating to freedom of expression in Sri Lanka, but not the relations in general between different communities in Sri Lanka over whatever time period one picks. Please do not abuse the opportunity to comment.

    My response to Natasha Miller's comment, accordingly, is that this is not the place to discuss issues relating to IDPs. I will note, briefly, that AI hasn't issued anything publicly on the issue since December 1 of last year, and that we continue to closely monitor the situation. When we have something to say publicly again, I'll probably post a new entry on this blog. Those interested should visit http://www.amnestyusa.org/srilanka to keep up with what AI says on Sri Lanka.

  28. In response to comments by Tamil Kovil and Krishna, please do not attempt to turn this forum into a general discussion of Sri Lankan history. This forum is meant to allow thoughtful discussion of the topics raised by the original post. I think it would be reasonable to discuss Tissainayagam's case and issues relating to freedom of expression in Sri Lanka, but not the relations in general between different communities in Sri Lanka over whatever time period one picks. Please do not abuse the opportunity to comment.

    My response to Natasha Miller's comment, accordingly, is that this is not the place to discuss issues relating to IDPs. I will note, briefly, that AI hasn't issued anything publicly on the issue since December 1 of last year, and that we continue to closely monitor the situation. When we have something to say publicly again, I'll probably post a new entry on this blog. Those interested should visit http://www.amnestyusa.org/srilanka to keep up with what AI says on Sri Lanka.

  29. In response to comments by Tamil Kovil and Krishna, please do not attempt to turn this forum into a general discussion of Sri Lankan history. This forum is meant to allow thoughtful discussion of the topics raised by the original post. I think it would be reasonable to discuss Tissainayagam’s case and issues relating to freedom of expression in Sri Lanka, but not the relations in general between different communities in Sri Lanka over whatever time period one picks. Please do not abuse the opportunity to comment.

    My response to Natasha Miller’s comment, accordingly, is that this is not the place to discuss issues relating to IDPs. I will note, briefly, that AI hasn’t issued anything publicly on the issue since December 1 of last year, and that we continue to closely monitor the situation. When we have something to say publicly again, I’ll probably post a new entry on this blog. Those interested should visit http://www.amnestyusa.org/srilanka to keep up with what AI says on Sri Lanka.

  30. Sri Lanka police investigate attack on BBC reporter

    A BBC reporter is in hospital in Sri Lanka after being attacked following clashes between rival political groups.

    Thakshila Dilrukshi Jayasena received minor injuries and her recording equipment was stolen. Police say they are investigating who attacked her.

    She had been covering clashes between thousands of government and opposition supporters in the town of Polonnaruwa.

    Election monitors say the campaign for the 26 January presidential vote has become "disturbingly violent".

    On Tuesday a supporter of the former army chief Gen Sarath Fonseka, the main opposition candidate, was shot dead in the south of the island.

    Tear gas

    The violence in Polonnaruwa left several people injured.

    Police used tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his main rival, Gen Fonseka.

    Ms Jayasena was assaulted as she was leaving the scene of the violence to file her report.

    Her audio recorders, digital camera, microphone and jewellery were taken by the assailants, police say.

    Ms Jayasena has reported for the BBC Sinhala service for several years from Polonnaruwa, which borders the former eastern war zone, and has worked for many other media outlets in Sri Lanka.

    It is the first reported violence against journalists in the run-up to the elections. Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media organisations to work in.

    'Violations'

    Amid the violence, monitoring groups say the camps of both President Rajapaksa and Gen Fonseka are misusing state resources.

    "Each and every day election violence is rising and election law violations are on the increase continuously," Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, from the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, told the BBC.

    The BBC's Charles Haviland in Colombo says the monitors place much greater blame on the president's side which has far more resources at its disposal.

    They say that ambassadors posted abroad have returned to campaign for the president; that soldiers have been putting up posters in his support; and private phone companies have sent propaganda text messages from the president on orders from the telecoms regulatory body.

    The groups also said they were concerned that displaced Tamil civilians who have recently returned to their homes in the north will not be able to vote.

    The BBC tried to contact several government ministers for comment but was unable to get a response.

    Tear gas

    The violence in Polonnaruwa left several people injured.

    Police used tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his main rival, Gen Fonseka.

    Ms Jayasena was assaulted as she was leaving the scene of the violence to file her report.

    Her audio recorders, digital camera, microphone and jewellery were taken by the assailants, police say.

    Ms Jayasena has reported for the BBC Sinhala service for several years from Polonnaruwa, which borders the former eastern war zone, and has worked for many other media outlets in Sri Lanka.

    It is the first reported violence against journalists in the run-up to the elections. Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media organisations to work in.

    'Violations'

    Amid the violence, monitoring groups say the camps of both President Rajapaksa and Gen Fonseka are misusing state resources.

    "Each and every day election violence is rising and election law violations are on the increase continuously," Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, from the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, told the BBC.

    The BBC's Charles Haviland in Colombo says the monitors place much greater blame on the president's side which has far more resources at its disposal.

    They say that ambassadors posted abroad have returned to campaign for the president; that soldiers have been putting up posters in his support; and private phone companies have sent propaganda text messages from the president on orders from the telecoms regulatory body.

    The groups also said they were concerned that displaced Tamil civilians who have recently returned to their homes in the north will not be able to vote.

    The BBC tried to contact several government ministers for comment but was unable to get a response.

    Tear gas

    The violence in Polonnaruwa left several people injured.

    Police used tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his main rival, Gen Fonseka.

    Ms Jayasena was assaulted as she was leaving the scene of the violence to file her report.

    Her audio recorders, digital camera, microphone and jewellery were taken by the assailants, police say.

    Ms Jayasena has reported for the BBC Sinhala service for several years from Polonnaruwa, which borders the former eastern war zone, and has worked for many other media outlets in Sri Lanka.

    It is the first reported violence against journalists in the run-up to the elections. Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media organisations to work in.

    'Violations'

    Amid the violence, monitoring groups say the camps of both President Rajapaksa and Gen Fonseka are misusing state resources.

    "Each and every day election violence is rising and election law violations are on the increase continuously," Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, from the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, told the BBC.

    The BBC's Charles Haviland in Colombo says the monitors place much greater blame on the president's side which has far more resources at its disposal.

    They say that ambassadors posted abroad have returned to campaign for the president; that soldiers have been putting up posters in his support; and private phone companies have sent propaganda text messages from the president on orders from the telecoms regulatory body.

    The groups also said they were concerned that displaced Tamil civilians who have recently returned to their homes in the north will not be able to vote.

    The BBC tried to contact several government ministers for comment but was unable to get a response.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/84574

  31. Happy & Prosperous Thai Pongal !!

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    Have a wonderful Thai Pongal !

    This occasion that marks joy and cheer, and brings along everything that's best. May the festival of the harvest season, be one that brings along with it, all that's best and everything you're so deserving of.

    Have a memorable Pongal !

    As you joyfully celebrate the festival of Pongal and welcome the harvest season, this greeting is being sent your way, to wish you everything, that the occasion is meant to bring.

    Have a Happy Pongal !

    Hope you rejoice in the charm of your tradition! Wish you & your family a very Happy Bogi Pongal, Surya Pongal, Mattu Pongal!

  32. Sri Lanka police investigate attack on BBC reporter

    A BBC reporter is in hospital in Sri Lanka after being attacked following clashes between rival political groups.

    Thakshila Dilrukshi Jayasena received minor injuries and her recording equipment was stolen. Police say they are investigating who attacked her.

    She had been covering clashes between thousands of government and opposition supporters in the town of Polonnaruwa.

    Election monitors say the campaign for the 26 January presidential vote has become "disturbingly violent".

    On Tuesday a supporter of the former army chief Gen Sarath Fonseka, the main opposition candidate, was shot dead in the south of the island.

    Tear gas

    The violence in Polonnaruwa left several people injured.

    Police used tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his main rival, Gen Fonseka.

    Ms Jayasena was assaulted as she was leaving the scene of the violence to file her report.

    Her audio recorders, digital camera, microphone and jewellery were taken by the assailants, police say.

    Ms Jayasena has reported for the BBC Sinhala service for several years from Polonnaruwa, which borders the former eastern war zone, and has worked for many other media outlets in Sri Lanka.

    It is the first reported violence against journalists in the run-up to the elections. Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media organisations to work in.

    'Violations'

    Amid the violence, monitoring groups say the camps of both President Rajapaksa and Gen Fonseka are misusing state resources.

    "Each and every day election violence is rising and election law violations are on the increase continuously," Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, from the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, told the BBC.

    The BBC's Charles Haviland in Colombo says the monitors place much greater blame on the president's side which has far more resources at its disposal.

    They say that ambassadors posted abroad have returned to campaign for the president; that soldiers have been putting up posters in his support; and private phone companies have sent propaganda text messages from the president on orders from the telecoms regulatory body.

    The groups also said they were concerned that displaced Tamil civilians who have recently returned to their homes in the north will not be able to vote.

    The BBC tried to contact several government ministers for comment but was unable to get a response.

    Tear gas

    The violence in Polonnaruwa left several people injured.

    Police used tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his main rival, Gen Fonseka.

    Ms Jayasena was assaulted as she was leaving the scene of the violence to file her report.

    Her audio recorders, digital camera, microphone and jewellery were taken by the assailants, police say.

    Ms Jayasena has reported for the BBC Sinhala service for several years from Polonnaruwa, which borders the former eastern war zone, and has worked for many other media outlets in Sri Lanka.

    It is the first reported violence against journalists in the run-up to the elections. Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media organisations to work in.

    'Violations'

    Amid the violence, monitoring groups say the camps of both President Rajapaksa and Gen Fonseka are misusing state resources.

    "Each and every day election violence is rising and election law violations are on the increase continuously," Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, from the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, told the BBC.

    The BBC's Charles Haviland in Colombo says the monitors place much greater blame on the president's side which has far more resources at its disposal.

    They say that ambassadors posted abroad have returned to campaign for the president; that soldiers have been putting up posters in his support; and private phone companies have sent propaganda text messages from the president on orders from the telecoms regulatory body.

    The groups also said they were concerned that displaced Tamil civilians who have recently returned to their homes in the north will not be able to vote.

    The BBC tried to contact several government ministers for comment but was unable to get a response.

    Tear gas

    The violence in Polonnaruwa left several people injured.

    Police used tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his main rival, Gen Fonseka.

    Ms Jayasena was assaulted as she was leaving the scene of the violence to file her report.

    Her audio recorders, digital camera, microphone and jewellery were taken by the assailants, police say.

    Ms Jayasena has reported for the BBC Sinhala service for several years from Polonnaruwa, which borders the former eastern war zone, and has worked for many other media outlets in Sri Lanka.

    It is the first reported violence against journalists in the run-up to the elections. Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media organisations to work in.

    'Violations'

    Amid the violence, monitoring groups say the camps of both President Rajapaksa and Gen Fonseka are misusing state resources.

    "Each and every day election violence is rising and election law violations are on the increase continuously," Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, from the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, told the BBC.

    The BBC's Charles Haviland in Colombo says the monitors place much greater blame on the president's side which has far more resources at its disposal.

    They say that ambassadors posted abroad have returned to campaign for the president; that soldiers have been putting up posters in his support; and private phone companies have sent propaganda text messages from the president on orders from the telecoms regulatory body.

    The groups also said they were concerned that displaced Tamil civilians who have recently returned to their homes in the north will not be able to vote.

    The BBC tried to contact several government ministers for comment but was unable to get a response.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/84574

  33. Sri Lanka police investigate attack on BBC reporter

    A BBC reporter is in hospital in Sri Lanka after being attacked following clashes between rival political groups.

    Thakshila Dilrukshi Jayasena received minor injuries and her recording equipment was stolen. Police say they are investigating who attacked her.

    She had been covering clashes between thousands of government and opposition supporters in the town of Polonnaruwa.

    Election monitors say the campaign for the 26 January presidential vote has become "disturbingly violent".

    On Tuesday a supporter of the former army chief Gen Sarath Fonseka, the main opposition candidate, was shot dead in the south of the island.

    Tear gas

    The violence in Polonnaruwa left several people injured.

    Police used tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his main rival, Gen Fonseka.

    Ms Jayasena was assaulted as she was leaving the scene of the violence to file her report.

    Her audio recorders, digital camera, microphone and jewellery were taken by the assailants, police say.

    Ms Jayasena has reported for the BBC Sinhala service for several years from Polonnaruwa, which borders the former eastern war zone, and has worked for many other media outlets in Sri Lanka.

    It is the first reported violence against journalists in the run-up to the elections. Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media organisations to work in.

    'Violations'

    Amid the violence, monitoring groups say the camps of both President Rajapaksa and Gen Fonseka are misusing state resources.

    "Each and every day election violence is rising and election law violations are on the increase continuously," Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, from the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, told the BBC.

    The BBC's Charles Haviland in Colombo says the monitors place much greater blame on the president's side which has far more resources at its disposal.

    They say that ambassadors posted abroad have returned to campaign for the president; that soldiers have been putting up posters in his support; and private phone companies have sent propaganda text messages from the president on orders from the telecoms regulatory body.

    The groups also said they were concerned that displaced Tamil civilians who have recently returned to their homes in the north will not be able to vote.

    The BBC tried to contact several government ministers for comment but was unable to get a response.

    Tear gas

    The violence in Polonnaruwa left several people injured.

    Police used tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his main rival, Gen Fonseka.

    Ms Jayasena was assaulted as she was leaving the scene of the violence to file her report.

    Her audio recorders, digital camera, microphone and jewellery were taken by the assailants, police say.

    Ms Jayasena has reported for the BBC Sinhala service for several years from Polonnaruwa, which borders the former eastern war zone, and has worked for many other media outlets in Sri Lanka.

    It is the first reported violence against journalists in the run-up to the elections. Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media organisations to work in.

    'Violations'

    Amid the violence, monitoring groups say the camps of both President Rajapaksa and Gen Fonseka are misusing state resources.

    "Each and every day election violence is rising and election law violations are on the increase continuously," Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, from the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, told the BBC.

    The BBC's Charles Haviland in Colombo says the monitors place much greater blame on the president's side which has far more resources at its disposal.

    They say that ambassadors posted abroad have returned to campaign for the president; that soldiers have been putting up posters in his support; and private phone companies have sent propaganda text messages from the president on orders from the telecoms regulatory body.

    The groups also said they were concerned that displaced Tamil civilians who have recently returned to their homes in the north will not be able to vote.

    The BBC tried to contact several government ministers for comment but was unable to get a response.

    Tear gas

    The violence in Polonnaruwa left several people injured.

    Police used tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his main rival, Gen Fonseka.

    Ms Jayasena was assaulted as she was leaving the scene of the violence to file her report.

    Her audio recorders, digital camera, microphone and jewellery were taken by the assailants, police say.

    Ms Jayasena has reported for the BBC Sinhala service for several years from Polonnaruwa, which borders the former eastern war zone, and has worked for many other media outlets in Sri Lanka.

    It is the first reported violence against journalists in the run-up to the elections. Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media organisations to work in.

    'Violations'

    Amid the violence, monitoring groups say the camps of both President Rajapaksa and Gen Fonseka are misusing state resources.

    "Each and every day election violence is rising and election law violations are on the increase continuously," Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, from the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, told the BBC.

    The BBC's Charles Haviland in Colombo says the monitors place much greater blame on the president's side which has far more resources at its disposal.

    They say that ambassadors posted abroad have returned to campaign for the president; that soldiers have been putting up posters in his support; and private phone companies have sent propaganda text messages from the president on orders from the telecoms regulatory body.

    The groups also said they were concerned that displaced Tamil civilians who have recently returned to their homes in the north will not be able to vote.

    The BBC tried to contact several government ministers for comment but was unable to get a response.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/84574

  34. Happy & Prosperous Thai Pongal !!

    Wishing that this festival brings good luck and prosperity and hoping that it is joyous, and fills your days ahead with happiness.

    Have a wonderful Thai Pongal !

    This occasion that marks joy and cheer, and brings along everything that’s best. May the festival of the harvest season, be one that brings along with it, all that’s best and everything you’re so deserving of.

    Have a memorable Pongal !

    As you joyfully celebrate the festival of Pongal and welcome the harvest season, this greeting is being sent your way, to wish you everything, that the occasion is meant to bring.

    Have a Happy Pongal !

    Hope you rejoice in the charm of your tradition! Wish you & your family a very Happy Bogi Pongal, Surya Pongal, Mattu Pongal!

  35. Sri Lanka police investigate attack on BBC reporter

    A BBC reporter is in hospital in Sri Lanka after being attacked following clashes between rival political groups.

    Thakshila Dilrukshi Jayasena received minor injuries and her recording equipment was stolen. Police say they are investigating who attacked her.

    She had been covering clashes between thousands of government and opposition supporters in the town of Polonnaruwa.

    Election monitors say the campaign for the 26 January presidential vote has become “disturbingly violent”.

    On Tuesday a supporter of the former army chief Gen Sarath Fonseka, the main opposition candidate, was shot dead in the south of the island.

    Tear gas

    The violence in Polonnaruwa left several people injured.

    Police used tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his main rival, Gen Fonseka.

    Ms Jayasena was assaulted as she was leaving the scene of the violence to file her report.

    Her audio recorders, digital camera, microphone and jewellery were taken by the assailants, police say.

    Ms Jayasena has reported for the BBC Sinhala service for several years from Polonnaruwa, which borders the former eastern war zone, and has worked for many other media outlets in Sri Lanka.

    It is the first reported violence against journalists in the run-up to the elections. Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media organisations to work in.

    ‘Violations’

    Amid the violence, monitoring groups say the camps of both President Rajapaksa and Gen Fonseka are misusing state resources.

    “Each and every day election violence is rising and election law violations are on the increase continuously,” Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, from the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, told the BBC.

    The BBC’s Charles Haviland in Colombo says the monitors place much greater blame on the president’s side which has far more resources at its disposal.

    They say that ambassadors posted abroad have returned to campaign for the president; that soldiers have been putting up posters in his support; and private phone companies have sent propaganda text messages from the president on orders from the telecoms regulatory body.

    The groups also said they were concerned that displaced Tamil civilians who have recently returned to their homes in the north will not be able to vote.

    The BBC tried to contact several government ministers for comment but was unable to get a response.

    Tear gas

    The violence in Polonnaruwa left several people injured.

    Police used tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his main rival, Gen Fonseka.

    Ms Jayasena was assaulted as she was leaving the scene of the violence to file her report.

    Her audio recorders, digital camera, microphone and jewellery were taken by the assailants, police say.

    Ms Jayasena has reported for the BBC Sinhala service for several years from Polonnaruwa, which borders the former eastern war zone, and has worked for many other media outlets in Sri Lanka.

    It is the first reported violence against journalists in the run-up to the elections. Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media organisations to work in.

    ‘Violations’

    Amid the violence, monitoring groups say the camps of both President Rajapaksa and Gen Fonseka are misusing state resources.

    “Each and every day election violence is rising and election law violations are on the increase continuously,” Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, from the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, told the BBC.

    The BBC’s Charles Haviland in Colombo says the monitors place much greater blame on the president’s side which has far more resources at its disposal.

    They say that ambassadors posted abroad have returned to campaign for the president; that soldiers have been putting up posters in his support; and private phone companies have sent propaganda text messages from the president on orders from the telecoms regulatory body.

    The groups also said they were concerned that displaced Tamil civilians who have recently returned to their homes in the north will not be able to vote.

    The BBC tried to contact several government ministers for comment but was unable to get a response.

    Tear gas

    The violence in Polonnaruwa left several people injured.

    Police used tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his main rival, Gen Fonseka.

    Ms Jayasena was assaulted as she was leaving the scene of the violence to file her report.

    Her audio recorders, digital camera, microphone and jewellery were taken by the assailants, police say.

    Ms Jayasena has reported for the BBC Sinhala service for several years from Polonnaruwa, which borders the former eastern war zone, and has worked for many other media outlets in Sri Lanka.

    It is the first reported violence against journalists in the run-up to the elections. Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media organisations to work in.

    ‘Violations’

    Amid the violence, monitoring groups say the camps of both President Rajapaksa and Gen Fonseka are misusing state resources.

    “Each and every day election violence is rising and election law violations are on the increase continuously,” Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, from the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections, told the BBC.

    The BBC’s Charles Haviland in Colombo says the monitors place much greater blame on the president’s side which has far more resources at its disposal.

    They say that ambassadors posted abroad have returned to campaign for the president; that soldiers have been putting up posters in his support; and private phone companies have sent propaganda text messages from the president on orders from the telecoms regulatory body.

    The groups also said they were concerned that displaced Tamil civilians who have recently returned to their homes in the north will not be able to vote.

    The BBC tried to contact several government ministers for comment but was unable to get a response.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8457446.stm

  36. In response to seyon's comments, please keep to the topic raised in my original post. Your first comment is inappropriate for this forum. Your second comment does discuss freedom of expression issues but the text is repeated multiple times, inexplicably.

  37. In response to seyon’s comments, please keep to the topic raised in my original post. Your first comment is inappropriate for this forum. Your second comment does discuss freedom of expression issues but the text is repeated multiple times, inexplicably.

  38. The Sri Lankan News Paper "Sunday Leader " office of located in Ratmalana was search by armed police officers who had come in a bus a short while ago. The police officers searched the printing press of the office saying they had information that defamatory posters were being printed at the premises.

    The police had also videoed the printing press of the newspaper. Sunday Leader Editor Federica Janz confirmed to Daily Mirror that the Sunday Leader printing press was searched.

  39. Will they search any places with such a mighty hurry if any printing press engaged in printing defamatory material printed against the opposition Sarath Fonseka? :)

  40. The Sri Lankan News Paper “Sunday Leader ” office of located in Ratmalana was search by armed police officers who had come in a bus a short while ago. The police officers searched the printing press of the office saying they had information that defamatory posters were being printed at the premises.

    The police had also videoed the printing press of the newspaper. Sunday Leader Editor Federica Janz confirmed to Daily Mirror that the Sunday Leader printing press was searched.

  41. Will they search any places with such a mighty hurry if any printing press engaged in printing defamatory material printed against the opposition Sarath Fonseka? :)

  42. Thank you Amnesty International, for highlighting the situation of journalists in Sri Lanka.

  43. Thank you Amnesty International, for highlighting the situation of journalists in Sri Lanka.

  44. Still wonder how many times Jim will "Only Warn" Seyon. Kumar and the Gang where as the others are kicked out without warning ????? :? :? :? I have seriously lost count of this but commend Jim for his patients with the Terrorists !

    Anyways !!

    It is great that Thissa is out of Jail and I hope that the judges will find him not guilty as I personally felt that the evidence was not enough to sentence him for 20 years – that's too much… May be we could watch out to ensure that he does not engage in wrong acts in future. He is a nice Bloke !

  45. Jim McDonald is fair but I think, it’s the moderators who block the bloggers.

    Many of Tamil friends blocked here. :(

  46. Still wonder how many times Jim will “Only Warn” Seyon. Kumar and the Gang where as the others are kicked out without warning ????? :? :? :? I have seriously lost count of this but commend Jim for his patients with the Terrorists !

    Anyways !!

    It is great that Thissa is out of Jail and I hope that the judges will find him not guilty as I personally felt that the evidence was not enough to sentence him for 20 years – that’s too much… May be we could watch out to ensure that he does not engage in wrong acts in future. He is a nice Bloke !

  47. Jim McDonald is fair but I think, it’s the moderators who block the bloggers.

    Many of Tamil friends blocked here. :(

  48. Indeed Kumar – I have lost count of the times you have changed your name and may be you are talking about yourself.

    From what I have realised, this blog is being visited by a very few and comments are posted by even fewer – may be maximum number is 10…

    But, however, I feel that Jim has a load of influence on the moderators and may be one of them too…

    Ohuge Kriya Kalapaya, Mage Sith Nogani !!!

    Many things to prove it !

    TC

  49. Jim Pappa

    Are you know -it -all?

    I was talking about Alfonso, Vanni and others

    So you are UNP supporter.

    Your party is an opposition party which was attacked, the members were assaulted, imprisoned , killed , the party offices were fire-bombed and burned.

    Gunmen on a motorbike open fire on a bus with people who had attended a UNP function in Tangalle.

    One killed, 4 injured.

    So what do you think about the freedom of expression in Sri Lanka?

    I well , you will be OK if you belong to the “ correct “ party and say “correct “ things :(

  50. Kumar,

    I think Alfonso, Vanni and others are still quite active here. I still see the same links coming in and same words spoken…. Just like in your case :) !!

    Anyways, Yes, I would not have mind if Sajith P or someone from UNP would have contested this election.

    I am only supporting the act of Mahinda's government that eliminated Terrorism in the country. I am 100% behind him on that aspect alone which made a huge difference in this country and the world. This also showed to the world that Terrorism actually could be eliminated if you plan well.

    As for the Freedom of expression, this is an issue that has been along for quite sometime. I totally condemn it no matter who does. There are instances that SF's guys also did some stuff as such and also the previous UNP governments acting bad.

    What we need to do is to create a list with most important on top and come down to the others. My Number one at this point is Elimination of terrorism. freedom of expression is may be 3rd in my list as it is not actually a huge issue to cry out loud as such. It is not as bad as some might want to paint.

    See as I told, I am with you guys on this particular subject and totally agree that we need to get to the level of discipline of having total media freedom.

  51. Indeed Kumar – I have lost count of the times you have changed your name and may be you are talking about yourself.

    From what I have realised, this blog is being visited by a very few and comments are posted by even fewer – may be maximum number is 10…

    But, however, I feel that Jim has a load of influence on the moderators and may be one of them too…

    Ohuge Kriya Kalapaya, Mage Sith Nogani !!!

    Many things to prove it !

    TC

  52. Jim Pappa

    The point you like about Mahinda is in the past.

    So if he will win the assault on the freedom of speech will continue and the corruption will flourish.

  53. Kumar,

    It's not my concern in this forum – that's why I try to stick to the subject matter as much as possible…

    My only need is for Terrorism not to happen in this country again !

  54. The right to vote for Tamils is in danger

    Army prepares to rig polls in the North

    The GoSL, the Defence Secretary and he Army Commander have launched a special operation to prevent the Tamil people from exercising their right to vote in the North and commanding officers who have not earned their confidence have been transferred as a first step.

    Jaffna Commander, Major General L.B.R. Mark and Commander of the 56 Wanni Thudukai Brigade Major General Janaka Walgama has been sent on an overseas tour with immediate effect by the Army Commander. Major General Mahinda Haturusinghe has been appointed as the acting Commanding Officer to Jaffna.

    Major General Haturusinghe is closely associated with the Defence Secretary and currently serves as the

    Commanding Officer of Kilinochchi. The new appointment will be in addition to his current duties.

    Chavakachcheri 52nd Brigade Commander Major General Mahesh Senanayake has been transferred to the Kotalalwela Defence Academy till January 27th. Major General Senanayake was a senior officer at the office of the Chief of Defence Staff during General Sarath Fonseka’s tenure and was transferred to Chavakachcheri after General Fonseka’s retirement.

    The Defence Secretary has also ordered that the Commando officers in Vavuniya be transferred immediately to Jaffna. Commanding officer of this Commando battalion, Lalantha Gamage is a close friend of the Defence Secretary.

  55. Jim MD and his fellow moderators !!!

    I refer to the below comment by Kumar

    Kumar Says:
    January 18th, 2010 at 4:49 am

    The right to vote for Tamils is in danger

    Army prepares to rig polls in the North

    Do I still get to see you warning him for the Hmmm… sorry lost count – or do I see some action this time ??? What relevance has the post to the topic ??

    Coming to Kumar – your votes are anyway divided for the General as well as the President… There are fractions supporting SF and also fractions supporting MR – see this is where we say that people have the freedom to choose – did your fat idiot let that happen at that time ?? at least there are polls to be rigged than polls not to be attended – this is better democracy than the fat idiots democracy !

  56. Jim Pappa

    Are you know -it -all?

    I was talking about Alfonso, Vanni and others

    So you are UNP supporter.

    Your party is an opposition party which was attacked, the members were assaulted, imprisoned , killed , the party offices were fire-bombed and burned.

    Gunmen on a motorbike open fire on a bus with people who had attended a UNP function in Tangalle.

    One killed, 4 injured.

    So what do you think about the freedom of expression in Sri Lanka?

    I well , you will be OK if you belong to the “ correct “ party and say “correct “ things :(

  57. Kumar,

    I think Alfonso, Vanni and others are still quite active here. I still see the same links coming in and same words spoken…. Just like in your case :) !!

    Anyways, Yes, I would not have mind if Sajith P or someone from UNP would have contested this election.

    I am only supporting the act of Mahinda’s government that eliminated Terrorism in the country. I am 100% behind him on that aspect alone which made a huge difference in this country and the world. This also showed to the world that Terrorism actually could be eliminated if you plan well.

    As for the Freedom of expression, this is an issue that has been along for quite sometime. I totally condemn it no matter who does. There are instances that SF’s guys also did some stuff as such and also the previous UNP governments acting bad.

    What we need to do is to create a list with most important on top and come down to the others. My Number one at this point is Elimination of terrorism. freedom of expression is may be 3rd in my list as it is not actually a huge issue to cry out loud as such. It is not as bad as some might want to paint.

    See as I told, I am with you guys on this particular subject and totally agree that we need to get to the level of discipline of having total media freedom.

  58. Jim Pappa

    The point you like about Mahinda is in the past.

    So if he will win the assault on the freedom of speech will continue and the corruption will flourish.

  59. Kumar,

    It’s not my concern in this forum – that’s why I try to stick to the subject matter as much as possible…

    My only need is for Terrorism not to happen in this country again !

  60. The right to vote for Tamils is in danger

    Army prepares to rig polls in the North

    The GoSL, the Defence Secretary and he Army Commander have launched a special operation to prevent the Tamil people from exercising their right to vote in the North and commanding officers who have not earned their confidence have been transferred as a first step.

    Jaffna Commander, Major General L.B.R. Mark and Commander of the 56 Wanni Thudukai Brigade Major General Janaka Walgama has been sent on an overseas tour with immediate effect by the Army Commander. Major General Mahinda Haturusinghe has been appointed as the acting Commanding Officer to Jaffna.

    Major General Haturusinghe is closely associated with the Defence Secretary and currently serves as the

    Commanding Officer of Kilinochchi. The new appointment will be in addition to his current duties.

    Chavakachcheri 52nd Brigade Commander Major General Mahesh Senanayake has been transferred to the Kotalalwela Defence Academy till January 27th. Major General Senanayake was a senior officer at the office of the Chief of Defence Staff during General Sarath Fonseka’s tenure and was transferred to Chavakachcheri after General Fonseka’s retirement.

    The Defence Secretary has also ordered that the Commando officers in Vavuniya be transferred immediately to Jaffna. Commanding officer of this Commando battalion, Lalantha Gamage is a close friend of the Defence Secretary.

  61. Jim MD and his fellow moderators !!!

    I refer to the below comment by Kumar

    Kumar Says:
    January 18th, 2010 at 4:49 am

    The right to vote for Tamils is in danger

    Army prepares to rig polls in the North

    Do I still get to see you warning him for the Hmmm… sorry lost count – or do I see some action this time ??? What relevance has the post to the topic ??

    Coming to Kumar – your votes are anyway divided for the General as well as the President… There are fractions supporting SF and also fractions supporting MR – see this is where we say that people have the freedom to choose – did your fat idiot let that happen at that time ?? at least there are polls to be rigged than polls not to be attended – this is better democracy than the fat idiots democracy !

  62. In response to recent comments, I'd ask again that those commenting in this forum keep to the topic raised in my original post here. Comments concerning the issue of freedom of expression in Sri Lanka would be appropriate. Kumar's comment of Jan. 18, 4:49 A.M. was not appropriate for this forum. Please do not abuse the opportunity to comment..

  63. In response to recent comments, I’d ask again that those commenting in this forum keep to the topic raised in my original post here. Comments concerning the issue of freedom of expression in Sri Lanka would be appropriate. Kumar’s comment of Jan. 18, 4:49 A.M. was not appropriate for this forum. Please do not abuse the opportunity to comment..

  64. Reporters Without Borders, said it had established that 98.5 per cent of the news and current affairs air-time on Sri Lankan state-owned TV stations Rupavahini and ITN on 18 and 19 January was given over to the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his supporters

    . “The TV propaganda is deafening and the figures we are releasing today are worthy of the Burmese or North Korean regimes," the press freedom organisation said.

    Control of the state media has become crucial to the election campaign.

    The Commissioner of Elections has issued several reminders about the rules requiring balanced coverage and tried to introduce a Competent Authority to monitor the TV stations, but the president’s office resisted.

    The Sri Lankan supreme court’s ruling has also been ignored, the RSF said

  65. Reporters Without Borders, said it had established that 98.5 per cent of the news and current affairs air-time on Sri Lankan state-owned TV stations Rupavahini and ITN on 18 and 19 January was given over to the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his supporters

    . “The TV propaganda is deafening and the figures we are releasing today are worthy of the Burmese or North Korean regimes,” the press freedom organisation said.

    Control of the state media has become crucial to the election campaign.

    The Commissioner of Elections has issued several reminders about the rules requiring balanced coverage and tried to introduce a Competent Authority to monitor the TV stations, but the president’s office resisted.

    The Sri Lankan supreme court’s ruling has also been ignored, the RSF said

  66. Sri Lanka’s claims of free access a lie, says media, ICRC

    Reporters and aid workers said they are still being barred from visiting Government internment camps housing thousands of Tamil refugees, days after Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama proclaimed on British television that the areas were “totally open.”

    Numerous media requests to visit camps in Vavuniyaa district and to witness the announced release of thousands of civilians had been rejected, reported Australia’s Daily Telegraph.

    “The International Committee of the Red Cross said they had also been denied access to the camps and there had been no relaxation of the restrictions despite Bogollagama’s announcement,” the paper said.

    The accusation comes days after Bogollagama told the BBC on his visit to London “that they [the media] can go tomorrow, you take my word. Absolutely there is no restriction that we impose on anyone, any journalist.”

    Bogollagama’s statement has been publicly contradicted by the Sri Lanka Government, with Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe confirming that “restrictions on journalists to visit displaced people in camps have not been relaxed yet,” whilst refusing to provide a concrete date as to when this would happen.

  67. Sri Lanka’s claims of free access a lie, says media, ICRC

    Reporters and aid workers said they are still being barred from visiting Government internment camps housing thousands of Tamil refugees, days after Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama proclaimed on British television that the areas were “totally open.”

    Numerous media requests to visit camps in Vavuniyaa district and to witness the announced release of thousands of civilians had been rejected, reported Australia’s Daily Telegraph.

    “The International Committee of the Red Cross said they had also been denied access to the camps and there had been no relaxation of the restrictions despite Bogollagama’s announcement,” the paper said.

    The accusation comes days after Bogollagama told the BBC on his visit to London “that they [the media] can go tomorrow, you take my word. Absolutely there is no restriction that we impose on anyone, any journalist.”

    Bogollagama’s statement has been publicly contradicted by the Sri Lanka Government, with Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe confirming that “restrictions on journalists to visit displaced people in camps have not been relaxed yet,” whilst refusing to provide a concrete date as to when this would happen.

  68. ditor says pro-opposition Web site reporter missing in Sri Lanka, may have been abducted.

    Prageeth Ekneligoda disappeared after leaving the office Sunday, said editor of lankaenews.com Sandaruwan Senadeera.

    Senadeera said the reporter may have been abducted for being a critic of Rajapaksa while supporting his main rival, Gen. Sarath Fonseka, in Tuesday's presidential election.

    Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena denied that the government was involved in the disappearance and said police were investigating.

    "The Web site has been publishing defamatory articles but all we did was to reply to them. We will not resort to these kind of actions," Abeywardena said.

    Media rights groups say Sri Lanka is among the most dangerous places for dissenting journalists.
    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/breakin

  69. ditor says pro-opposition Web site reporter missing in Sri Lanka, may have been abducted.

    Prageeth Ekneligoda disappeared after leaving the office Sunday, said editor of lankaenews.com Sandaruwan Senadeera.

    Senadeera said the reporter may have been abducted for being a critic of Rajapaksa while supporting his main rival, Gen. Sarath Fonseka, in Tuesday's presidential election.

    Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena denied that the government was involved in the disappearance and said police were investigating.

    "The Web site has been publishing defamatory articles but all we did was to reply to them. We will not resort to these kind of actions," Abeywardena said.

    Media rights groups say Sri Lanka is among the most dangerous places for dissenting journalists.
    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/breakin

  70. ditor says pro-opposition Web site reporter missing in Sri Lanka, may have been abducted.

    Prageeth Ekneligoda disappeared after leaving the office Sunday, said editor of lankaenews.com Sandaruwan Senadeera.

    Senadeera said the reporter may have been abducted for being a critic of Rajapaksa while supporting his main rival, Gen. Sarath Fonseka, in Tuesday's presidential election.

    Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena denied that the government was involved in the disappearance and said police were investigating.

    "The Web site has been publishing defamatory articles but all we did was to reply to them. We will not resort to these kind of actions," Abeywardena said.

    Media rights groups say Sri Lanka is among the most dangerous places for dissenting journalists.
    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/breakin

  71. Two journalists from http://www.lankaenews.com complained to election commissioner that government owned Sri Lanka Telecom has blocked their server and they are unable to upload any news. This complained was made at 3.30 pm today.

    http://www.lankaenews.com has not updated any news today, after 11.20am.

    Lankaenews journalists Prageeth Eknaligoda has been missing form 24th late evening so far all attempts to locate him has been failed. His close colleagues are afraid that he may have been abducted by a white van. White vans has been noticed parked close to lanakenews office on that day, just before Prageeth Eknaligoda left the office.

    http://lankanewsweb.com/news/EN_2010_01_26_002.ht

  72. Two journalists from http://www.lankaenews.com complained to election commissioner that government owned Sri Lanka Telecom has blocked their server and they are unable to upload any news. This complained was made at 3.30 pm today.

    http://www.lankaenews.com has not updated any news today, after 11.20am.

    Lankaenews journalists Prageeth Eknaligoda has been missing form 24th late evening so far all attempts to locate him has been failed. His close colleagues are afraid that he may have been abducted by a white van. White vans has been noticed parked close to lanakenews office on that day, just before Prageeth Eknaligoda left the office.

    http://lankanewsweb.com/news/EN_2010_01_26_002.ht

  73. Two journalists from http://www.lankaenews.com complained to election commissioner that government owned Sri Lanka Telecom has blocked their server and they are unable to upload any news. This complained was made at 3.30 pm today.

    http://www.lankaenews.com has not updated any news today, after 11.20am.

    Lankaenews journalists Prageeth Eknaligoda has been missing form 24th late evening so far all attempts to locate him has been failed. His close colleagues are afraid that he may have been abducted by a white van. White vans has been noticed parked close to lanakenews office on that day, just before Prageeth Eknaligoda left the office.

    http://lankanewsweb.com/news/EN_2010_01_26_002.ht

  74. ditor says pro-opposition Web site reporter missing in Sri Lanka, may have been abducted.

    Prageeth Ekneligoda disappeared after leaving the office Sunday, said editor of lankaenews.com Sandaruwan Senadeera.

    Senadeera said the reporter may have been abducted for being a critic of Rajapaksa while supporting his main rival, Gen. Sarath Fonseka, in Tuesday’s presidential election.

    Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena denied that the government was involved in the disappearance and said police were investigating.

    “The Web site has been publishing defamatory articles but all we did was to reply to them. We will not resort to these kind of actions,” Abeywardena said.

    Media rights groups say Sri Lanka is among the most dangerous places for dissenting journalists.

    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/breakingnews/82580162.html

  75. Two journalists from http://www.lankaenews.com complained to election commissioner that government owned Sri Lanka Telecom has blocked their server and they are unable to upload any news. This complained was made at 3.30 pm today.

    http://www.lankaenews.com has not updated any news today, after 11.20am.

    Lankaenews journalists Prageeth Eknaligoda has been missing form 24th late evening so far all attempts to locate him has been failed. His close colleagues are afraid that he may have been abducted by a white van. White vans has been noticed parked close to lanakenews office on that day, just before Prageeth Eknaligoda left the office.

    http://lankanewsweb.com/news/EN_2010_01_26_002.html

  76. In response to Jim Pappa's comment, I think the problem is the period at the end of the URL; remove the period and it should work.

  77. In response to Jim Pappa’s comment, I think the problem is the period at the end of the URL; remove the period and it should work.

  78. Sri Lanka expels Swiss reporter

    RI Lankan authorities have withdrawn the visa granted to a Swiss reporter covering the island's fiercely fought presidential vote and asked her to leave the country within 48 hours.

    Karin Wenger of Swiss Public Radio said she was sent a letter by the immigration controller saying she must leave the island before Monday and that her application for a media accreditation card had been denied.

    She had already been issued with a media accreditation by the Sri Lankan government department of information and she said her journalist visa was valid until Feb 17. 'I fear I have been kicked out for asking uncomfortable questions at a government press conference,' Wenger, who is based in New Delhi, told AFP.

    A government minister had publicly criticised her for grilling the authorities on allegations of irregularities at Tuesday's vote which was comfortably won by President Mahinda Rajapakse.
    http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Asia/Sto

  79. Sri Lanka expels Swiss reporter

    RI Lankan authorities have withdrawn the visa granted to a Swiss reporter covering the island's fiercely fought presidential vote and asked her to leave the country within 48 hours.

    Karin Wenger of Swiss Public Radio said she was sent a letter by the immigration controller saying she must leave the island before Monday and that her application for a media accreditation card had been denied.

    She had already been issued with a media accreditation by the Sri Lankan government department of information and she said her journalist visa was valid until Feb 17. 'I fear I have been kicked out for asking uncomfortable questions at a government press conference,' Wenger, who is based in New Delhi, told AFP.

    A government minister had publicly criticised her for grilling the authorities on allegations of irregularities at Tuesday's vote which was comfortably won by President Mahinda Rajapakse.
    http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Asia/Sto

  80. Sri Lanka expels Swiss reporter

    RI Lankan authorities have withdrawn the visa granted to a Swiss reporter covering the island's fiercely fought presidential vote and asked her to leave the country within 48 hours.

    Karin Wenger of Swiss Public Radio said she was sent a letter by the immigration controller saying she must leave the island before Monday and that her application for a media accreditation card had been denied.

    She had already been issued with a media accreditation by the Sri Lankan government department of information and she said her journalist visa was valid until Feb 17. 'I fear I have been kicked out for asking uncomfortable questions at a government press conference,' Wenger, who is based in New Delhi, told AFP.

    A government minister had publicly criticised her for grilling the authorities on allegations of irregularities at Tuesday's vote which was comfortably won by President Mahinda Rajapakse.
    http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Asia/Sto

  81. 'Lanka' weekly news paper editor arrested

    Chandana Sirimalwatte, the editor of the pro Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Sinhala language weekly 'Lanka' was taken into custody by the police Friday morning in connection with an article carried in the paper on January 26.

    A team of police officials from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) took the editor and his two editorial assistants Friday morning from the newspaper office.
    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&art

  82. 'Lanka' weekly news paper editor arrested

    Chandana Sirimalwatte, the editor of the pro Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Sinhala language weekly 'Lanka' was taken into custody by the police Friday morning in connection with an article carried in the paper on January 26.

    A team of police officials from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) took the editor and his two editorial assistants Friday morning from the newspaper office.
    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&art

  83. 'Lanka' weekly news paper editor arrested

    Chandana Sirimalwatte, the editor of the pro Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Sinhala language weekly 'Lanka' was taken into custody by the police Friday morning in connection with an article carried in the paper on January 26.

    A team of police officials from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) took the editor and his two editorial assistants Friday morning from the newspaper office.
    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&art

  84. Sri Lanka expels Swiss reporter

    RI Lankan authorities have withdrawn the visa granted to a Swiss reporter covering the island’s fiercely fought presidential vote and asked her to leave the country within 48 hours.

    Karin Wenger of Swiss Public Radio said she was sent a letter by the immigration controller saying she must leave the island before Monday and that her application for a media accreditation card had been denied.

    She had already been issued with a media accreditation by the Sri Lankan government department of information and she said her journalist visa was valid until Feb 17. ‘I fear I have been kicked out for asking uncomfortable questions at a government press conference,’ Wenger, who is based in New Delhi, told AFP.

    A government minister had publicly criticised her for grilling the authorities on allegations of irregularities at Tuesday’s vote which was comfortably won by President Mahinda Rajapakse.

    http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Asia/Story/STIStory_483886.html

  85. ‘Lanka’ weekly news paper editor arrested

    Chandana Sirimalwatte, the editor of the pro Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Sinhala language weekly ‘Lanka’ was taken into custody by the police Friday morning in connection with an article carried in the paper on January 26.

    A team of police officials from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) took the editor and his two editorial assistants Friday morning from the newspaper office.

    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=31100

  86. A Sri Lankan anti-government newspaper was shut down

    The Lanka newspaper, published by the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (The Peoples Liberation Front), was raided on Friday and its editor Chandana Sirimalwatte was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).

  87. A Sri Lankan anti-government newspaper was shut down

    The Lanka newspaper, published by the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (The Peoples Liberation Front), was raided on Friday and its editor Chandana Sirimalwatte was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).

  88. What a good news !

    Sri Lankan revokes expulsion of Swiss reporter

    ——————————————————————-

    The Sri Lankan immigration authorities ordering reporter Karin Wenger, of Swiss Public Radio, to leave the country.

    The department of information had accused her of damaging the image of Sri Lanka with "defamatory" reports.

    A government minister also criticised her for grilling the authorities on allegations of irregularities in Tuesday's vote, which was comfortably won by incumbent Rajapakse.

    The Sri Lankan government is harassing independent journalists who it believed sided with the defeated opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka.

  89. What a good news !

    Sri Lankan revokes expulsion of Swiss reporter

    ——————————————————————-

    The Sri Lankan immigration authorities ordering reporter Karin Wenger, of Swiss Public Radio, to leave the country.

    The department of information had accused her of damaging the image of Sri Lanka with “defamatory” reports.

    A government minister also criticised her for grilling the authorities on allegations of irregularities in Tuesday’s vote, which was comfortably won by incumbent Rajapakse.

    The Sri Lankan government is harassing independent journalists who it believed sided with the defeated opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka.

  90. Sri Lankan journalists handed Amnesty International a list of 56 colleagues facing serious threats.

    The New York-based Human Rights Watch expressed concern at the post-election crackdown, with its Asia director Brad Adams saying: "Now that the President has been re-elected, there appears to be a settling of scores with critics of the government."

    Amnesty International said local journalists had been arrested, along with opposition supporters, and several prominent newspaper editors received death threats.

    FEARED post-election reprisals appear to have begun in Sri Lanka, with at least nine military commanders sacked and media organisations raided for allegedly supporting presidential challenger Sarath Fonseka.

    Former army chief General Fonseka said 13 army personnel who were his supporters, including three majors general, two brigadiers and four colonels, had been "compulsorily retired" in the wake of President Mahinda Rajapakse's unexpectedly large election win last Tuesday.

  91. Sri Lankan journalists handed Amnesty International a list of 56 colleagues facing serious threats.

    The New York-based Human Rights Watch expressed concern at the post-election crackdown, with its Asia director Brad Adams saying: “Now that the President has been re-elected, there appears to be a settling of scores with critics of the government.”

    Amnesty International said local journalists had been arrested, along with opposition supporters, and several prominent newspaper editors received death threats.

    FEARED post-election reprisals appear to have begun in Sri Lanka, with at least nine military commanders sacked and media organisations raided for allegedly supporting presidential challenger Sarath Fonseka.

    Former army chief General Fonseka said 13 army personnel who were his supporters, including three majors general, two brigadiers and four colonels, had been “compulsorily retired” in the wake of President Mahinda Rajapakse’s unexpectedly large election win last Tuesday.

  92. Editor of the "Irida Lanka" newspaper, Chandana Sirimalwatte, has been arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department on Friday (29) afternoon. According to his lawyers he was questioned for two hours and was detained for further questioning.

    Following the election victory, the ruling UPFA regime has launched a massive crackdown on all media institutions which backed the opposition candidate, former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka. On Thursday (28), the authorities took steps to close down "Lanka E News" website, following the government's decision to block the local viewers from visiting the website for two days. In a separate incident on the same day, a State television employee who had been an outspoken critic of the state media policy was assaulted at his place of work.

    The arrest of Chandana Sirimalwatte, the editor of "Irida Lanka" newspaper, proves the fact that the Sri Lankan government has adopted a policy of retaliation against all the forces including media, for not backing the candidacy of Mahinda Rajapaksa. The journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka urge all the responsible governments and global bodies with utmost urgency to demand an immediate stop to ongoing witch-hunt in Sri Lanka and to release Chandana Sirimalwatte immediately.

  93. Editor of the “Irida Lanka” newspaper, Chandana Sirimalwatte, has been arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department on Friday (29) afternoon. According to his lawyers he was questioned for two hours and was detained for further questioning.

    Following the election victory, the ruling UPFA regime has launched a massive crackdown on all media institutions which backed the opposition candidate, former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka. On Thursday (28), the authorities took steps to close down “Lanka E News” website, following the government’s decision to block the local viewers from visiting the website for two days. In a separate incident on the same day, a State television employee who had been an outspoken critic of the state media policy was assaulted at his place of work.

    The arrest of Chandana Sirimalwatte, the editor of “Irida Lanka” newspaper, proves the fact that the Sri Lankan government has adopted a policy of retaliation against all the forces including media, for not backing the candidacy of Mahinda Rajapaksa. The journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka urge all the responsible governments and global bodies with utmost urgency to demand an immediate stop to ongoing witch-hunt in Sri Lanka and to release Chandana Sirimalwatte immediately.

  94. Media groups in Sri Lanka yesterday accused the government of detaining a senior editor and shutting down his newspaper because the publication backed the losing opposition candidate in elections.

    Press owners, editors and rights bodies issued a joint statement saying the closure of the pro-opposition Lanka weekly and the detention of Chandana Sirimalwatte was a “fatal blow to media freedom and democracy.”

    “Promises made during the presidential campaign to defend press freedom and speed up the investigations into assassinations of journalists have evaporated within days,” the group said.

    “The repression against journalists and media that does not obey government orders and express dissenting voices has now culminated in acts unleashed against the Lanka newspaper.”

  95. Media groups in Sri Lanka yesterday accused the government of detaining a senior editor and shutting down his newspaper because the publication backed the losing opposition candidate in elections.

    Press owners, editors and rights bodies issued a joint statement saying the closure of the pro-opposition Lanka weekly and the detention of Chandana Sirimalwatte was a “fatal blow to media freedom and democracy.”

    “Promises made during the presidential campaign to defend press freedom and speed up the investigations into assassinations of journalists have evaporated within days,” the group said.

    “The repression against journalists and media that does not obey government orders and express dissenting voices has now culminated in acts unleashed against the Lanka newspaper.”

  96. An unidentified group of persons attacked a well known Tamil journalist J.Sri Ranga of Sakthi Television travelling in a vehicle in Hatton, a town in Nuwara Eliya district. The vehicle was damaged. Mr. Ranga had made complaint at the Hatton Police

  97. An unidentified group of persons attacked a well known Tamil journalist J.Sri Ranga of Sakthi Television travelling in a vehicle in Hatton, a town in Nuwara Eliya district. The vehicle was damaged. Mr. Ranga had made complaint at the Hatton Police

  98. Eight media institutions have written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa over the recent attacks on media

    They are:

    Free Media Movement
    Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association
    Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum
    Sri Lanka Tamil Media AllianceEditors Guild of Sri Lanka
    South Asian Free Media Association
    Federation of Media Trade Unions

  99. Eight media institutions have written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa over the recent attacks on media

    They are:

    Free Media Movement
    Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association
    Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum
    Sri Lanka Tamil Media AllianceEditors Guild of Sri Lanka
    South Asian Free Media Association
    Federation of Media Trade Unions

  100. Jaffna Journalist detained by the Jaffna sector party

    Journalist Parameshwaran functioning for the Medias of BBC and Daily mirror was detained by a party represented by the government in Jaffna.

    The Sri Lankan ruling party activists in Jaffna had been involved in giving false promises to the desperate Tamil people that it would find the missing persons.

    This brought awareness to journalist Prameshwaran, and attempts were made by him to expose the facts, which resulted, Parameshwaran.

    It is alleged his camera too had been grabbed by Sri Lankan ruling party activists involved in his detention.

  101. Jaffna Journalist detained by the Jaffna sector party

    Journalist Parameshwaran functioning for the Medias of BBC and Daily mirror was detained by a party represented by the government in Jaffna.

    The Sri Lankan ruling party activists in Jaffna had been involved in giving false promises to the desperate Tamil people that it would find the missing persons.

    This brought awareness to journalist Prameshwaran, and attempts were made by him to expose the facts, which resulted, Parameshwaran.

    It is alleged his camera too had been grabbed by Sri Lankan ruling party activists involved in his detention.