Under Fire

March 7, 2007 (AFP) – Nine media workers have been killed in Sri Lanka over the past 15 months, rights groups said Wednesday, voicing concerns over deteriorating conditions for journalists.

No one has been charged over the deaths, leading to fears that media freedom is being deliberately and violently suppressed through threats, abductions and attacks, they said.

“Three reporters and six people working in media organisations have been killed in the past 15 months, but no one has been caught so far,” said Sunanda Deshapriya, convener of the Free Media Movement in Sri Lanka.

He added that senior government ministers have recently accused media organisations of aiding and abetting militant activities amid a spike in fighting with Tamil Tiger rebels.

“Naming and shaming media organisations as ‘Tiger organisations’ without evidence is a deliberate attempt to suppress the media in this country,” Deshapriya said.
“We are very concerned, we are afraid if this tempo is allowed to continue.”

Deshapriya was speaking at the release of the International Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression Mission report here, which described Sri Lanka as one of the most dangerous place