Monthly Archives: March 2011

Sri Lanka: Website linked to minister incites violence against Dr. Wikramabahu Karunarathna

Press release/ 25 March 2011

Networking for Rights is disturbed and shocked over comments posted on the Ada Derana website against the leader of the New Left Front  Dr. Wikramabahu Karunarathna callingfor his death. This is all the more disturbibg as the website  is  run by the Derana TV channel  which  is owned by the family of Dr. Sarath Amunugama, a senior minister in the Sri Lankan government.

The comments have been posted in response to a petition;  “Petition against Police inaction on Vickramabahu attack <; ”  The responses which border on hate speech  and a sample of which we cite, calls for the death and torture of Dr. Karunarathna  “We too protest. Why not police
shoot this ……; Thank you police for doing a great job by ignoring the attack on this traitor. Why is this paaharaya´s legs are still not broken? Shoot this man.he is a traitor. i salute the police for not taking any action. . . . good job IGP you are a real hero, A single axe would have done the job with this axis of evil man who is a betrayer”…..

NfR wishes to point out that the Ada Derana website is violating basic media ethics by allowing such posts.

Comments  such as these  clearly incite and glorify  violence against free expression and human rights. Moderators of the Ada Derana website must be held accountable for allowing such hateful comments to be posted, and NfR challenges the website owners to publicise its policy on website postings. Furthermore, we wish to remind the website moderators and owners that they would be held responsible for  any future physical attack on Dr. Karunarathna.

In fact on the same day Ada Derana site blocked comments on another news item. This news item was  related to state media being ordered to pay SLR. 50 million to a opposition lawmaker as a compensation for a wrong news item published. This  shows that the comments are moderated on the site.

Additionally, NfR calls upon the Sri Lanka Press Institute and its media ethics monitoring boday, the Press Complaints Commission, to be vigilant of such violations and take appropriate action.

NfR condemns Ada Derana for its irresponsible behaviour and calls upon all those who support true democractic freedoms to do the same. Strengthening democratic discourse is vital in ensuring the basic rights of the  people of Sri Lanka.

Issued by Steering Committee, NfR Sri Lanka
Steering committee : Kshama Ranawana ( Canada) Lionel Bopage ( Australia), Nadarasa Sarawanan (Norway), Nadarajah Kuruparan(UK) Padmi Liyanage (Germany), Raveendran Pradeepan (France), Rudhramoorthy Cheran (Canada), Saman Wagaarachchi ( USA), Sunanda Deshapriya ( Switzerland)

C/O, 19447, Victory Blvd,#2, Reseda,CA 91335, USA ;

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Sri Lanka: Attempt to suppress human rights advocacy and protection of democratic freedoms

NfR  Sri Lanka

Press release/ 23 March 2011

The attention of Networking for Rights is drawn to a media release by the National Peace Council (NPC)  which states that it is being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department. NfR expresses  its serious concern over the way this investigation is being handled.

It is disconcerting that an Organization  which conducts its activities in protecting and promoting human rights in Sri Lanka in a non-partisan manner is being investigated by the CID, though no criminal charges seemed to have been laid against it. Furthermore, according to the Media Release, the CID seeks to investigate the Councils sources of funding, its partners and its activities. Although the right to association is guaranteed by constitution of Sri Lanka this fundamental right has come under relentless assault by various status apparatus in recent times.

NPC states that the CID investigation was preceded by  critical reports in both state and private media on the Council. It is noteworthy that Organisations and individuals against whom attacks or assaults have been carried out have been similarly targeted on previous occasions. As stated by the NPC, the Council’s affairs have been submitted to the NGO Secretariat under whose purview the Councils activities fall. Its website too carries all relevant information regarding its funders, annual reports and activities. As there seems to be no evidence or allegation of a criminal nature, if an investigation is required then it should be handled by a civil body.

Human rights NGOs in Sri lanka have become constant target of unjust attacks in state and  nationalist media over the past years and come under pressure to fellow the government political line with regards to human rights situation in the country.

Networking for Rights is concerned that a CID investigation with no apparent evidence of a criminal nature would further suppress the space for human rights advocacy and  protection of democratic freedoms in Sri Lanka. NFR calls on the government of Sri Lanka to halt the witch hunt of Non-governmental Organizations which make valuable contributions to the country, and, if any investigation is deemed necessary, that it be handed over to a civil administrative body.

Issued by Steering Committee, NfR Sri Lanka