Eight online journalists and an office assistant freed but investigation continues

first_img July 29, 2020 Find out more News Follow the news on Sri Lanka News RSF_en News Sri Lanka: RSF signs joint statement on attacks against human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists Sri Lanka: tamil reporter held on absurd terrorism charge Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts Sri Lanka: Journalist manhandled by notorious police inspector currently on trialcenter_img Sri LankaAsia – Pacific News to go further July 4, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Eight online journalists and an office assistant freed but investigation continues Sri LankaAsia – Pacific July 15, 2020 Find out more January 13, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders is relieved that the eight SriLankaMirror and SriLankaXNews journalists and an office assistant arrested on 29 June were released the next day by Judge Kosala Senadheera of Colombo court No. 8 on the grounds that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had failed to produce evidence of actual wrongdoing.According to an article on LankaeNews, an influential, trilingual news website based abroad, the judge ruled that no one can be arrested to prevent a crime that has not been committed. The CID had said it raided the SriLankaMirror and SriLankaXNews offices in Colombo and arrested their journalists because they had published “false news” and because they had sent it to LankaeNews, which could have used it to defame the president and incite unrest.Although the journalists have been released, they are still under investigation and the computer equipment that was taken from the SriLankaMirror journalists has still not been returned, preventing them from working normally. The computers are due to be produced in court at the next hearing, on 6 July.The freed journalists have all decided to lodge complaints against the CID and the defence ministry for violating their fundamental rights by detaining them arbitrarily. Reporters Without Borders supports this initiative, which is needed to prevent such abuses from going unpunished. It also urges the authorities to close the investigation of the two sites, which were clearly targeted because of what they were reporting.“The SriLankaMirror and SriLankaXNews journalists cannot be held responsible for the supposedly defamatory reports that might have been published on the basis of information they provided,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Reporting news and information is a fundamental right and duty for all journalists and it is up to LankaeNews to evaluate whether or not the information it obtains is accurate.”LankaeNews has been hounded in recent years and reprisals against its journalists are increasing. Its Colombo premises were badly damaged in a January 2011 arson attack which the authorities blamed on its staff. Launched in 2005, it incurred the government’s wrath when it supported Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the leading challenger to President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the January 2010 presidential election.Sri Lanka is ranked 163rd out of 179 countries in the 2011-2012 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. The situation for journalists continues to worsen although the civil war ended in 2009.——-29.06.12 – Eight journalists and an office assistant arrested in police raid on two news websitesReporters Without Borders firmly condemns today’s police raids on the offices of two Colombo-based news websites, the SriLankaMirror and SriLankaXNews, in which eight of their journalists and an office assistant were arrested.“We call for the immediate release of all those detained,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The exact reasons for the raids on these two news websites, which the authorities have had in their sights for some time, must be clarified without delay. However, given the government’s past violations of freedom of information, we regard it as an attempt to censor and intimidate critical journalists.”The raids were carried out at around 11:45 a.m. by about 25 police officers from the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) and the Crime Investigation Department (CID), who had a search warrant issued by Judge Prasanna Alwis of Colombo court No. 4.Both websites are located in the same building – 71 Thotupolar Road in the Colombo suburb of Athulkotte. One of them, SriLankaXNews, is operated by the United National Party (UNP), an opposition party.The nine detainees were taken to CID headquarters in Colombo for questioning. They consisted of six SriLankaMirror journalists and an office helper:1. Kleum Shivantha Rodrigo – editor 2. Ajith Senevirathne – photographer) 3. Tharindu Rajapaksa – feature writer) 4. Himashi Karunarathne – sports editor) 5. Shiranthini Manawadu – reporter 6. Asanka Nivantha – marketing manger 7. R.M. Preamawathi – office helper And two SriLankaXNews journalists:8. Siddik Kariyappar – Tamil-language editor 9. Subhash Jayawardane – features editor The police confiscated computers from both offices, which they sealed. They also searched the home of Ruwan Ferdinandez, who used to work for SriLankaMirror and is now editor in chief of SriLankaXNews.The raids were carried out one day after access to five Tamil-language news websites – TamilWin, Athirvu, Sarithan, Ponguthamil and Pathivu – were blocked.This not the first time the government has targeted the SriLankaMirror site, which was one of four leading independent news sites critical of the government that were blocked on the information ministry’s orders in November 2011. The other three were SriLankaGuardian, Paparacigossip9, and LankaWayNews.Access to the SriLankaMirror site was unblocked after it appealed to the supreme court. The Lankaenews and Lankanewsweb sites have also been hounded by the authorities, especially in connection with their coverage of corruption.Sri Lanka was classified as one of the countries “under surveillance” in the latest Reporters Without Borders report on “Enemies of the Internet.” Organisation last_img read more

Another journalist abducted and murdered in Baghdad

first_img News News December 16, 2020 Find out more October 30, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Another journalist abducted and murdered in Baghdad Follow the news on Iraq News Reporters Without Borders today strongly condemned the murder of Shehab Mohammed al-Hitti, of the English-language newspaper Baghdad News. His death brings to 206 the number of journalists and media assistants killed in Iraq since the start of the conflict in March 2003.The Iraq Journalistic Freedom Observatory reported that the body of the 27-year-old journalist was found in Oor, a northern district of the capital on 27 October 2007. He had been abducted the same day in al Jami’a in the west of Baghdad while on his way to work. He had worked for Baghdad News since 2003. He worked for several dailies, including al-Zaman and Babel under the previous regime. “Shehab Mohammed al-Hitti is the 46th journalist to be murdered since the start of the year. It is not just the barbarity of armed groups that has led to his terrible toll,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “The failure to hold investigations, institute legal proceedings and to provide protection also plays a huge part. We send our condolences to the family of this journalist, whose death must not go unpunished.”Elsewhere, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) was still waiting for news of its Iraqi correspondent who disappeared in Baghdad on 22 October. The radio’s spokesperson told Reporters Without Borders that their correspondent was believed to have been kidnapped following the murder of his driver, but they had received no further news about this fate.To date, at least 152 journalists and 54 media assistants have been murdered since March 2003. A total of 15 kidnapped Iraqi journalists have still not been released by their captors. Reporters Without Borders today strongly condemned the murder of Shehab Mohammed al-Hitti, of the English-language newspaper Baghdad News. His death brings to 206 the number of journalists and media assistants killed in Iraq since the start of the conflict in March 2003. Help by sharing this information February 15, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan December 28, 2020 Find out more IraqMiddle East – North Africa RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” IraqMiddle East – North Africa Organisation Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” News RSF_en to go furtherlast_img read more