Jaffna Press Club has stressed that there must be investigations into all the murders, abductions and disappearances of journalists and that their perpetrators must be prosecuted.
Jaffna Press Club has made the appeal in a statement issued to mark the World Press Freedom Day. The statement Reads: “World Press Freedom Day is observed all over the world today. While there has still been no justice this year in Sri Lanka for the journalists that have been murdered, abducted and forcibly disappeared, press freedom day is somehow being celebrated.
Jaffna Press Club firmly believes that without investigating and prosecuting those responsible for the murders and disappearances of journalists and media workers, media freedom in Sri Lanka cannot be assured.
In the reign of previous regimes, at least 44 journalists were murdered and disappeared across Sri Lanka. Of that number the majority are Tamils, with at least 41 Tamil journalists and media workers having been murdered and forcibly disappeared, mostly from the North-East.
Under the new regime there have been no blatant assassinations of journalists. Similarly, there also have not been any blatant abductions or forcible disappearances of journalists. Investigations have begun into the murder of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge and the abduction and disappearance of cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda.
The Right to Information Act has been passed in Parliament. These are all welcome steps. However the government cannot just display these steps to the outside word to wriggle its way out of accountability for the murders and abductions of Tamil journalists.
So on this World Press Freedom Day, while the Jaffna Press Club remembers all our murdered and disappeared journalists and media workers, we emphasise to the government the need to ensure our rights to gather information and report it without having to face pressures and threats.”