1/30/2010

Journalists expelled, arrested, disappeared and media institutions sealed in post-election Sri Lanka

(January 30, Colombo - Lanka Polity)  Sri Lanka government has taken strict measures to control media. Press offices have been rounded, sealed, raided and one journalist is disappeared since January 24. Prageeth Ekneligoda, a freelance journalist and cartoonist disappeared and his whereabouts are yet to be known.

A body that floated in the Kelani River today was later identified as one of a disabled man who committed suicide. The family and friends of Ekneligoda were alarmed of the news but breathed a temporary sigh of relief later.

Lanka-e-News, a pro-opposition website was rounded by a group yesterday and the staff found was illegally sealed by this morning.

CID raided the office of the 'Lanka' Sinhala weekly today and the editor of the newspaper Chandana Sirimalwatta that went to the CID was detained for grilling regarding an article published in his newspaper. Defense secretary and President's brother Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said to Divaina Sinhala newspaper that an article in the latest issue of Lanka newspaper insulted him.

In the latest development, the government cancelled visa of a Swiss Public Radio journalist that angered Minister Susil Prema Jayantha, the secretary of the ruling coalition at a press conference questioning about the election malpractices.

The German language journalist Ms. Karin Wenger, 30, who is based in the Indian capital, New Delhi, said on Friday that the Sri Lankan immigration service had cancelled her accreditation since February 01, which was originally valid until February 17. A spokesman for the radio said no reasons had been given for the expulsion.

Photos: Lanka editor Chandana Sirimalwatta (above), Prageeth Ekneligoda (below)

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