Sri Lanka’s past, present and future continues to be clouded by the foul air of corruption and authoritarianism:
The newly re-elected government of Mahinda Rajapaksa has been accused of orchestrating a fresh crackdown on the media after a series of websites were blocked and at least one reporter detained after raising questions about the conduct of the election. One journalist is missing, one has been assaulted and others have received death threats.
In what campaigners claimed was a “settling of scores”, around half-a-dozen websites has been blocked and the offices of one of them sealed. A foreign journalist who had been ordered from the country after asking a question about the president’s brother was subsequently told she could stay after her case received international attention.
“Now that the president has been re-elected, there appears to be a settling of scores with critics of the government,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch (HRW). “Just days after the election, some officials seem to be on a campaign to abuse their power.”