Ilankai Tamil Sangam

26th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Journalists Killed, Attacked & Harassed in Sri Lanka

1990-2007 August

by Tamil Centre for Human Rights, September 9, 2007

"...................The most common bogey that they use when a government becomes uncomfortable, is that you are a LTTE sympathiser. When governments are in opposition I am their darling and then when they come into power they feel uncomfortable when I report certain things. .. " (Iqbal Athas, Defence Correspondent and Consultant Editor of Sunday Times, in an interview to "The Nation" 2 Sep. 2007)

Health minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said publicly on 6 April 2007, that journalists were behaving like “mad dogs” and should be “vaccinated” as dogs were against rabies. (Excerpt - Reporters Without Borders, 13 April 2007)

Rest of TCHR report to UN Human Rights Council

 

Journalists and other staff killed, attacked and harassed in Sri Lanka

1990-2000

(many more to be included)

Date

Name of victim

Reporting for

Incident

18/02/1990

Richard de Zoysa (journalist for UN funded Rome based agency - IPS)

International Press Service

Abducted in and shot dead in Colombo by the Sri Lanka military intelligence.

14/05/1999

Sri Lal Priyantha

Lakbima

Arrested by the Police

15/07/1999

Ten journalists

Freelance & News

Assaulted by the Police

21/07/1999

Several journalists

Freelance & News Papers

Victims of violence by PSD (Presidential Security Division)

07/09/1999

Rohana Kumara

Editor-Satana

Shot dead in suburb of Colombo believed to by the PSD

27/09/1999

Susannah Price (British)

BBC

Received death threats by telephone

02/11/1999

Nadarajah Atputharajah

Thinamurusu

Shot dead by EPDP in Colombo

03/04/2000

Aiyathurai Nadesan

Virakesari

Grenade attack at his home in Batticaloa

20/10/2000

Mylvaganam Nirmalarajan

BBC & IBC, UK

Shot dead at his home in Jaffna by EPDP

 

Journalists and other staff killed, attacked and harassed in Sri Lanka - 2001

(many more to be included)

Date

Name of victim

Reporting for

Incident

02/01/2001

N. Thiruchelvam

Lake House

Arrested and tortured in Colombo

20/01/2001

M. Vithiyatharan

Editor-Uthayan

Arrested by Police in Jaffna

21/03/2001

A. Fasmi

Thinakural

Arrested by Sri Lanka Army in Mannar

16/04/2001

Marie Colvin (American)

Sunday Times UK

Shot and injured by Sri Lankan army

23/05/2001

Office of the weekly

Athavan

Hit by a lobbed smoke bomb

07/06/2001

Pirabaharan

Freelance

Attacked by gangsters in Bogawantala

17/06/2001

Dharmaratnam Sivaram

Freelance

Two armed men entered the house, looking Sivaram.

17/07/2001

Aiyadurai Nadesan

Virakesari

Interrogated by the Army in Batticaloa

03/08/2001

A. Manoharan

Lake House

Received death threat

26/12/2001

Dharmaratnam Sivaram

Freelance

Beaten with clubs and knives in Batticaloa

26/12/2001

M. Wijetharan

Thinakathir

Beaten with clubs and knives in Batticaloa

 

Journalists and other staff killed, attacked and harassed in Sri Lanka - 2002

(many more to be included)

Date

Name of victim

Reporting for

Incident

06/01/2002

Assif Hussein

Sunday Observor

Assif Hussein was warned for writing an article about the Buddhist temple in Kandy

30/01/2002

Ranjan Jayakody

TV channel ITN

Attacked while he was reporting on an irrigation project in the northern town of Gampaha

01/02/2002

Ervin de Silva

Divaina

Attacked by two army deserter and a policeman for written a report exposing a local case of corruption.

30/03/2002

Sarath Chinthaka

Daily Mirror and Lankadeepa

Three armed, masked men believed to be security forces, entered the home forcefully and threatened his wife, who was alone in the house with a child - demanding the recording of a controversial speech by President Kumaratunga. As they couldnt find the cassette, they broke a cupboard, took a dozen cassettes and a recorder, and threatened to kill Chinthaka.

07/04/2002

Sunil S. Thanthrige

H.R. Perera

Lankadeepa

Daily Mirror

An angry crowd of demonstrators attacked dashing their cameras to the ground.

22/04/2002

Buddhika Weerasinghe

Freelance

Police threatened five reporters who were covering a demonstration outside the prime minister’s residence in Colombo

26/06/2002

P. Sathsivanamdam

BBC & Virakesari

Armed men attacked his house in Muttur

00/06/2002

A.J.A. Abeynayaka

Divaina

Believed to Police prowled around his home iring shots in the air, on several occasions. This harassment was due to his reporting against Kadana police.

00/06/2002

Senathirajah Jeyanandamoorthy

Virakesari &

Tamilnet

Journalist neighbour's home was set on fire. Believed to a wrong target

10/07/2002

Nishanta Kumara

Ravaya

Three men, including a member of the ruling UNP known as Sanil, attacked and threatened him with a knife - one asked if he was the human rights "dog" who was trying to send his brother-in-law to prison.

02/09/2002

Chandramorgan &

ABC Radio Correspondent

Valampuri

ABC Radio

Attached by while they took photographs of the police using tear gas on a crowd of demonstrators.

03/11/2002

Malini Herath

Dinamina

Thugs attacked the home

24/11/2002

Sandhya M. Weeratunga

Rukmal Gamage

Dinakara

Dinakara

Received telephone threats after their newspaper carried a report about a government minister. Thugs attcked Dinakara’s vehicles driver on 26 November, and asked about the journalists.

Date

Name of victim

Reporting for

Incident

03/12/2002

Wijitha Ranaweera

Roshan Garusingha

Jagath Kalansooriya

Dinamina

Lakbima

TV station ITN

Attacked while covering their use of violence by the supporters of a local leader of the ruling party to disrupt a local election. Ranaweera and Kalansooriya were hospitalised.

10/12/2002

Velupillai Thavachelvam

UK-based

IBC Tamil Radio

Police attacked while covering a protest in Nelliady, Jaffna against the EPDP presence in the peninsula. He was admitted to hospital in Point Pedro.

 

Journalists and other staff killed, attacked and harassed in Sri Lanka - 2003

(many more to be included)

Date

Name of victim

Reporting for

Incident

07/01/2003

S. Jayananthamoorthy

Virakesari

Grenade attack at his home in Batticaloa

24/04/2003

Asoka Fernando

Sunday Leader

Threatened by a priest while covering a visit to Gangarama temple in Colombo

07/05/2003

Ponnaiah Manikavasagam

BBC Tamil Service

EPRLF (V), a paramilitary group threaten to kill

10/05/2003

Ponnaiah Manickavasagam

BBC - Tamil

Received death threats in Vavuniya

00/06/2003

Poddala Jayantha

Silumina

Received death threats for reporting on corruption

27/07/2003

Lasantha Wickrematunga

Editor –

Sunday Leader

Minister of Fisheries Mahinda Wijeskera had threatened to kill him.

01/08/2003

Lasantha Wickrematunga

Editor – Sunday Leader

A Minister threatened to kill him

29/10/2003

Athula

Hiru FM radio

Wounded when Sinhala-Tamil cultural festival attacked

08/11/2003

Paul Harris

Daily Telegraph, UK and Jane’s Review

Forced to leave the country because the authorities refused to renew his visa.

19/11/2003

Velupillai Thavachelvam

UK-based

IBC Tamil Radio

Military intelligence personnel detained him at the Muhamalai checkpoint in Jaffna.

 

Journalists and other staff killed, attacked and harassed in Sri Lanka - 2004

(many more to be included)

Date

Name of victim

Reporting for

Incident

00/02/2004

S. Sivapalan

S. Manoharan

Thinakural

Namathu Eelanadu

Beaten with batons by police as they were covering an incident in Manipay. Their accreditation, was taken from them. Their notebooks and cameras were destroyed.

03/05/2004

Dharmaratnam Sivaram

Freelance

Police raided him in Colombo

31/05/2004

Aiyathurai Nadesan

Virakesari &

IBC Radio, UK

Shot dead by paramilitary working with Sri Lankan military

16/08/2004

Kandasamy Iyer Balanadarajah

Thinamurasu.

Shot dead in Colombo while on his way to work

12/10/2004

Udaya Kumara Abeyratne

Divaina

Attacked by members of a Pentecostal church near Colombo

25/10/2004

Frederica Jansz

Heshani Edward

Sunday Leader

Freelance

Attacked while investigating the alleged implication of telecommunications tycoon Thilanga Sumathipala

29/10/2004

Yamuni Rashmika

Atula Vithanage

Lanka

Radio Hiru FM

Both injured during an attack by members of the ultra nationalist party, Sihala Urumayah

24/12/2004

Kithsiri De Mel

Daily Mirror

Attacked while photographing clashes between police and a crowd in funeral of Buddhist monk.

 

Journalists and other staff killed, attacked and harassed in Sri Lanka - 2005

(many more to be included)

Date

Name of victim

Reporting for

Incident

28/04/2005

Dharmaratnam Sivaram

Freelance: Tamilnet, Daily Mirror,Virakesari,

Abducted and shot dead in Colombo by the paramilitary working closely with Sri Lankan military intelligence.

12/08/2005

Mr & Mrs Selvarajah

SLRC

Shot dead in Colombo in their travel agency

23/08/2005

Y Premachchandran

Sudar Oli

Attacked by JVP while photographing a JVP protest rally

29/08/2005

D. Selvarathnam – Secuirty Guard

Sudar Oli

Two grenades were thrown at the building and watchman was injured

16/10/2005

S. A. Dias, publication manager

Sunday Leader

Dias was assaulted and the printing press was set on fire

01/11/2005

Ranee Mohamed,

Berty Mendis

Sunday Leader

Assaulted with batons and swords

15/12/2005

Namathu Eelanadu

Namathu Eelanadu

Army officers searched the office in Jaffna interogated several staff.

17/12/2005

B. Parathipan, a lawyer - renowned journalist

Kulukulan

Prameshwaran

Thinakkural

Thinakkural

Thinakkural

Held in custody overnight after being stopped at a Colombo checkpoint.

19/12/2005

T. Sabeswaran

Winston Jeyan

J. Jerad

Thinakkural

Thinakaran

Namathu Eelanadu

Assaulted by members of the security forces, their quipments were also damaged

22/12/2005

K. Navarathnam

Thinakkural

Newspaper deliveryman was shot dead by Sri Lanka security forces

 

Journalists and other staff killed, attacked and harassed in Sri Lanka - 2006

(many more to be included)

Date

Name of victim

Reporting for

Incident

24/01/2006

Subramaniyam Sugirdharajan (SSR)

Sudar Oli

Shot dead in Trincomalee by paramilitary forces working with the Sri Lanka Army

02/05/2006

Suresh Kumar - Marketing Manager

Ranjith Kumar

Uthayan

Shot dead in "Uthayan" office in Jaffna by EPDP members. Office and computers were badly damaged

16/05/2006

Sunanda Deshapriya

Sitha Ranjanee

Poddala Jayanthe

Dharmasiri Lankapeli

Prasanna Fonseka

)Free Media )Movement

Journalists Assoc.

Fed.of Media Empl

Journalist

All have received death threats for meeting LTTE political wing

01/07/2006

Lakmal Silva,

Freelance

Killed by the Sri Lanka Army

24/07/2006

Mariathas Manojanraj

Newspaper distributor

Killed in Jaffna in a mine that was set off by EPDP

25/07/2006

M. Yahoob -

Newspaper distributor

Paramilitary group threatening to kill him for distributing news papers in Batticaloa.

07/08/2006

Group of journalists, including some from the BBC

Journalists /

International reporters

Reporters were barred from Muttur reporting on the killing of 17 Tamil employees of the French NGO Action contre la Faim who were killed by the Sri Lanka army on 5 August 06.

15/08/2006

Sathasivam Baskaran

Driver - Sudar Oli press group

Shot dead in Jaffna by EPDP

18/08/2006

Uthayan (News paper in Jaffna)

Uthayan

Four EPDP member set fire to the press causing serious damage to the publishing house

20/08/2006

Sinnathamby Sivamaharajah

Managing Director Namathu Eelanadu and form MP

Shot dead at his home in Tellipalai, Jaffna by EPDP

22/08/2006

Vithyatharan – Editor

M. Saravanabavan, Managing Director

Sudar Oli group

Withdrawn the police protection assigned by the President Rajapaksa

29/08/2006

Nadarajah Guruparan

Tamil radio station Sooriyan

Kidnapped in Colombo by the paramilitary working with the Sri Lankan military. Due to international pressure he was released after 25 hours

01/09/2006

Ms Thavarajah Thavamni

Maharaja Television (MTV)

Sri Lanka military intelligence has kidnapped her and released after 15 hrs.

07/09/2006

Uthayan (News paper in Jaffna)

Uthyan

EPDP gunmen continue to threatened the journalists of Uthyan

17/10/2006

Rajpal Abenayaka

Editor, Sunday Observor, Laka House

Dismissed for writing about the comments that the President Rajapaksa made to Sri Lankan diplomat

22/10/2006

Virakesari, Thinakural and Sudar Oli (News papers)

News papers

Paramilitary group with working Army burned 15,000 copies of news paper! All three news papers banned by the paramilitary in the East.

??/10/2006

Sinhalese section of the BBC World Service

BBC World service

Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, accused the Sinhalese section of the BBC World Service a reporter for the British radio of being "payroll" in the Tamil Tigers!

Date

Name of victim

Reporting for

Incident

??/11/2006

George David

Reuters and the broadcast group Sirasa

Threatened by soldiers in Trincomalee.

06/11/2006

Publish the information only after the police investigation

To all media

According to the state media - Daily News, the IGP Victor Perera wants the media to publish the information on kidnapping of Tamils, only after the police investigation was completed!

26/11/2006

Munusamy Parameshawary

"Mawbima" Sinhalese weekly

Arrested by the Sri Lanka Police and released after four months without any charge – 22 March 07.

27/12/2006

Lasantha Wickremathunga

Editor - Sunday Leader

Threatened to be arrested for revealing information on luxurious bunker was being built for President Rajapaksa

00/12/2006

3 state media journalists

State media

Summoned for questioning by the Police

00/12/2006

Iqbal Athas

Sunday Times

Forced to censor his articles on security issues!

00/12/2006

Rohitha Bashana Abeywardena

Journalist "Hiru"

Threatened by the authority for covering the plight of Tamil residents in the North East.

00/12/2006

Auruddha Lokuhapuarachchi

Reuters

Threatened for covering the plight of Tamil residents in the North East.

 

Journalists and other staff killed, attacked and harassed in Sri Lanka - 2007

(many more to be included)

Date

Name of victim

Reporting for

Incident

05/02/2007

Nihal Serasinghe

Lalith Seneviratne

Sisira Priyankara

All three working trade union monthly news paper "Akuna"

All three kidnapped from three different locations in Colombo by the unknown people and then handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID)

15/02/2007

Subramaniam Ramachandran

Thinakural and Valampuri

Kidnapped by EPDP who work closely with Sri Lanka army. On 22 March, Army admitted of holding him.

24/02/2007

TV channels and other media were urged

All media

President Rajapakse and his brother Gotabaya Rajapakse, urged TV channels and other media to put out a programme accusing "Mawbima", and its owner Tiran Alles. Also former ministers Sripathi Sooyaaracchi and Mangala Samaraweera, were accused of using the newspaper to plot against government.

26/02/2007

Dushantha Basnayake

Financial director "Mawbima"

Arrested by the Sri Lanka Police

08/03/2007

Tiran Alles

Chairman of "Standard" & "Mawbima" newspapers Ltd.

Government frozen the a Newspapers Private Ltd.

06/04/2007

Threat to the journalists by the Health Minister

Cabinet Minister

Health minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said publicly that journalists were behaving like “mad dogs” and should be “vaccinated” as dogs were against rabies.

Date

Name of victim

Reporting for

Incident

17/04/2007

Champika Liyanaarachchi

Editor –

"Daily Mirror"

Defence Secretary, younger brother of the President Rajapaksa threatened to "exterminate" a journalist on the newspaper, for writing articles about the plight of civilian victims of the war.

British High Commissioner, Dominick Chilcott in Colombo, who went to the Daily Mirror offices to express his solidarity to Editor was summoned to the office of the Defence Secretary.

29/04/2007

Selvarajah Rajivarman

Uthayan

Shot dead by EPDP In Jaffna

15/05/2007

Sonali Samarasinghe

Editor –

"Morning Leader"

Questioned by by law enforcement authorities

13/06/2007

Tiran Alles

Chairman of "Standard" & "Mawbima" newspapers Ltd.

Arrested by the Police. Considered as taking revenge on Tiran Alles by Rajapaksa's family

19/06/2007

Attack on Press Freedom

Tamilnet

Sri Lankan authority blocked access within Sri Lanka to TamilNet, a website hosted in Norway.

02/08/2007

Sahathevan Nilakshan

Trainee journalist

A journalism student and editor of a publication linked to a student union was shot dead by EDP cadres who work with Sri Lanka military intelligence.

15/08/2007

Kalimuttu Palamohan (KP Mohan)

Thinakural Tamil Daily

Attacked with lethal acid thrown at his face and chest. On 28 June, he was hospitalised for a week after being attacked by Air Force personnel

in Colombo

15/08/2007

Iqbal Athas

Sunday Times

Defence correspondent and assistant editor

Defence Ministry withdrew special Police protection which was given since 1998. The police protection given after a series of threats by members of security forces.

18/08/2007

Iqbal Athas

Sunday Times

The static guard outside my house was removed

19/08/2007

Iqbal Athas

Sunday Times

State backed demonstration outside his house at Wijerama junction .

All the windows tinted, a green double cab parked just beyond the guard point down his resident – he may even get abducted