State of journalism in Sri Lanka is dire

So much for being a democracy at the end of the civil war. This is what ongoing discrimination against free speech looks like. Andrew Buncombe reports for The Independent:

It is not simply dedication to his job that has led newspaper editor MV Kaanamyl-nathan to not leave his office for five-and-a-half years. In the spring of 2006, gunmen stormed into the building and sprayed automatic fire that killed two employees and left bullet holes in the walls and the table in the conference room that remain to this day.

Since then, two police officers have been assigned to permanent duty outside the building and Mr Kaanamylnathan and his wife have left their three-bedroom home in the city and moved into a small space next to the newsroom. “I don’t go out. The only exception is to go and see my doctor, a heart-specialist, once every three months,” Mr Kaanamylnathan said. “For that, I have to make to make special arrangements.

The plight of Mr Kaanamylnathan and his newspaper Uthayan, (Rising Sun in Tamil), where six members of staff have been killed in the past decade and many others attacked, threatened and harassed in incidents that continue today, is a frightening window into the world of journalism in Sri Lanka.

Campaigners say reporters and media employees here are among some of the most vulnerable in the world; at least 14 have been killed in recent years and many more forced into exile. Several others are missing and unaccounted for. Among the most high-profile of cases was that of Lasantha Wickramatunga, editor of the often-critical Sunday Leader, who was murdered in January 2009. Nobody has yet been charged with the killing.