Sri Lanka: Targeting a daughter of a journalist in exile by the government backed media in Sri Lanka should be condemned

Press release/ 28 March 2012

NfR Sri Lanka, a network of Sri Lankan journalists and human rights defenders, vehemently condemns the virulent campaign launched by the Government backed media in Sri Lanka, against a daughter of a journalist in exile, in the wake of Human Rights Council’s resolution on accountability in Sri Lanka. This is a deliberate effort to suppress dissenting views being expressed in the country.

ITN the State controlled TV channel has shown visuals of the daughter of the exiled journalist Poddala Jayantha, 24 times over last few weeks.

Award winning journalist and defender of press freedom, Poddala Jayantha was abducted, tortured and left to die in June 2009, presumably by a state sponsored killer squad, after he returned to the Island from India after staying there temporarily for security reasons. He fled to the United States of America with his family in early 2010 as threats to his life didn’t cease and lives in New York.

Jayantha’s daughter, a 13 year old student was shown walking with her father as a back ground visuals on State controlled television while the journalist was blamed by the commentator for unfounded anti-government activities.

NfR considers the use of visuals of an innocent child as a back ground to dangerous attacks on her father, to be a crime that should be condemned in the strongest terms and its perpetrators should be brought to justice.

NfR condemned this unethical and totally unacceptable behaviour of the Sri Lankan state media and holds the GoSL responsible for this action. GoSL continues to keep a complete control over state media by appointing the members to its board of directors, editors and even news casters. There is no truth in the statement that State media is free and GoSL is not responsible for these virulent attacks on journalists.

The NfR joins the growing local and international opposition to hostile rhetoric by GoSL against journalists, press freedom defenders and human rights defenders in the wake of the passing of a resolution at the UN HRC demanding the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC.NfR calls upon human rights organisations to voice their strong opposition to all these attacks and demands that GoSL should tender an open apology to the daughter of journalist Poddala Jayantha.

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