Sri Lanka to re-open investigations on journalists' attacks

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Colombo, May 30: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said he wants to re-open investigations into all past murders and disappearances of journalists.

"As the new government, we want to re-open investigations on all disappearances, murders and other challenges faced by the media personnel in the recent past," Sirisena said addressing an event here last night to mark the disappearance of cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda.


Eknaligoda went missing in January, 2010 while he was working in the opposition election campaign in the then presidential election.

"We all remember the difficult times they faced," said Sirisena, who pledged to restore full freedom of media when he challenged his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa in January's presidential election. Rajapaksa's rule became noted for the intimidation of journalists.

Several journalists fled the country while editor of the pro-opposition Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunga was murdered in a street here in broad daylight in January, 2009.

During Rajapaksa's military campaign, which crushed the LTTE, Sri Lanka was dubbed as one of the unsafest places to practice journalism.

Although investigations were initiated on attacks on journalists, they have not resulted in anyone being prosecuted. In the latest World Press Freedom Index rankings issues in April this year, Sri Lanka was ranked 165 out of 180 countries.


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