Sri Lanka slammed over press rights

COLOMBO, June 22, 2007 (AFP) – International media rights activists on Friday described Sri Lanka as one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists due to a worsening climate of violence and censorship.

Almost 5,000 people have been killed since December 2005, according to official figures, while over 1,000 people are reported to have “disappeared” in the past year. Killings and attacks against journalists remained unsolved leading to fears that media freedom is being deliberately and violently suppressed through threats, abductions and attacks, a team of media freedom campaigners said.

“Since August 2005, eleven media workers have been killed in Sri Lanka. Ten of them were killed in government-controlled areas and no one has been caught so far,” said Jacqui Park from the International Federation of Journalists.

“Jaffna is one of the most dangerous cities in the world to be a journalist,” she said of the northern, government-controlled peninsula cut off from the rest of the country by Tamil Tiger-held territory.

“Authorities seem reluctant to investigate murders and attacks,” she said at the end of a five-day visit by international press activists, who last visited the embattled isl

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