Sri Lanka - New threats to privately-owned print media
At the same time, senior newspaper employees have been questioned by the police about their sources in a new attack on editorial independence.
"The police must treat these death threats written in red ink with the utmost seriousness, especially as they were sent to two journalists whose press group has repeatedly been the target of physical violence," Reporters Without Borders said. "We urge the police to track down and arrest those who wrote these letters."
The press freedom organisation added: "It is also vital that the authorities order the security forces to put a stop to their unwarranted summonses and arrests of journalists, and to register the complaints submitted by journalists when they are physically attacked."
The editor-in-chief of the
Jansz told Reporters Without Borders the letters were similar to those received by
Jansz and Leader Publications are currently facing three complaints brought by the president's brother, defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, one accusing her of contempt of court because she printed a profile of him in the weekly after a judge ordered the press group not to publish anything about him. The defence ministry's website has meanwhile accused the press group's lawyers of being traitors while another site linked to the ministry referred to some of Jansz's comments to foreign news media as "prostitution."
In a separate case, Chandana Sirimalwatta, the editor of the newspaper Lanka Irida, was detained and questioned by the
On 20 October, the government information office threatened to "blacklist" online media that speculated about tension within the government.
Ruling party activists meanwhile attacked journalists who were accompanying opposition members on 4 October as they tried to approach a "palatial residence" allegedly built by a member of the president's family with public funds. Five journalists were slightly hurt. One of them told Reporters Without Borders that police at the Matara police station refused to register his complaint.
A few days before that, three Lanka Irida reporters were arrested near this residence on "terrorism charges". They were later released on bail but their equipment was confiscated.For further information: Office of Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, firstname.lastname@example.org