Fresh Threats

October 29, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s president ordered police to probe death threats against journalists of a newspaper whose founding editor was murdered earlier this year, a spokesman said Thursday. The Sunday Leader has been critical of the government and its handling of the internally displaced people following the military’s crushing of Tamil rebels earlier this year. President Mahinda Rajapakse asked the police to carry out a “very thorough investigation” into the death threats against two senior members of the Sunday Leader newspaper, a spokesman for the president’s office said.

The investigation was ordered as the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said it was greatly concerned by last week’s death threats against Sunday Leader chief editor Frederica Jansz and her news editor Munza Mushtaq.

The paper’s founding editor, Lasantha Wickramatunga, was gunned down near his office in January. The case remains unsolved.

“Our concern is that these most recent threats, like so many others, and the deaths of 11 journalists since President Rajapakse came to power in 2005, will remain unexplained,” CPJ’s Asia program coordinator Bob Dietz said.

“The air of impunity surroundi