The Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement in late January:
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon must press the United Nations to address the string of uninvestigated and unprosecuted attacks on journalists and media houses under the government of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ responded after an early Monday morning arson attack on the offices of the independent Sri Lankan website Lanka eNews in the Malabe suburb of the capital, Colombo. Staff members told CPJ that everything in the offices had been destroyed, although no one was injured in the 2 a.m. raid. The outspoken website posted pictures of the destruction.
“The litany of arson attacks, assaults, disappearances, and outright killing of journalists that have gone unaddressed under President Mahinda Rajapaksa make it necessary for the international community to act,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “The responsibility falls to the United Nations to lead an effective international response to a government that has failed to protect journalists, and is itself a viable suspect in many of these acts.”
So far, the U.N. has failed to respond to the wife of Prageeth Eknelygoda, a columnist and cartoonist for Lanka eNews who disappeared on January 24, 2010. His family and colleagues say they suspect he has been kidnapped. Sandhya Eknelygoda wrote to Ban earlier this month, saying that the government–which she suspected was complicit in her husband’s disappearance–has showed no interest in investigating the case. Lanka eNews founder Sandaruwan Senadheera went into exile in March 2010 after repeated death threats.
Lanka eNews has long been critical of the government and had sided with a former presidential candidate, Sareth Fonseka, who is now in jail. In recent days, the site had reported critically on Rajapkasa and his brother Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, secretary of defense, including reports of the president’s quiet visit to the U.S., which the website said was for medical purposes. In another report, the website questioned whether the defense secretary had perjured himself while giving evidence in a case against Fonseka.
Of course, writing about the war crimes and human rights abuses committed by the autocratic regime in Colombo – like highlighting apartheid in Palestine by the thoroughly non-democratic Jewish state and getting slammed many days in the week by Zionists – brings almost comical attacks by Rajapaksa-backing clowns.