Sri Lanka media watchdog says its treasurer threatened, ransom demanded

April 18, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Free Media Movement (FMM), a media watchdog, said Friday its treasurer, journalist K. Rushangan, has received threats demanding the payment of a ransom before April 25. Despite complaints to the police, no action has been taken to probe the threats, the organisation said in a statement.

Rushangan is the editor of the Tamil language news and information website and the Tamil journal Saamadana Nokku (Peace Monitor) published by the Center for Policy Alternatives, a think tank.

On Sunday, April 13 at around 4pm, a person who claimed to be “Ealaventhan” from the Tamil Tigers demanded that Rushangan hand over a motorbike or the cash equivalent of 1,500 US dollars, the FMM said.

“The phone number registered on Rushangan’s mobile phone was 0774 343791. This phone number is still accepting incoming calls. When Rushangan refused to pay saying that he is not in a position to do so, the caller threatened to abduct the journalist.”

The FMM said that though Rushangan lodged a complaint with the police, no one has been questioned or arrested by the police to date.

“(This is) a situation the FMM finds wholly unacceptable in light of the seri