|Sri Lanka's government sets up committee to investigate claims of media intimidation|
|Wednesday, 25 June 2008|
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka has appointed a ministerial-level committee to investigate allegations that local journalists trying to cover the country's civil war have been threatened and harassed, a senior government official said Tuesday.
The investigation follows complaints from both Sri Lankan and foreign human rights groups that the government has been orchestrating much of the alleged intimidation.
Cabinet minister Sarath Amunugama said the committee, appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, will also help reporters gain access to government officials to verify stories as well as protect the independence and safety of journalists.
"The media felt that they were under too much surveillance ... we can't deny there was a feeling like that," said Amunugama, who will head the committee.
Last week some 29 international rights groups wrote to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon seeking his help to persuade Sri Lanka to "immediately stop all actions which undermine the independence and safety of the news community." Earlier this month the European Commission said it had also raised the issue with the Sri Lanka government.
Free Media Movement, a local rights group, said at least 100 reporters have been attacked, 25 journalists have fled the country and several others have gone into hiding in the past two years.
Sri Lanka's civil war has been raging since 1983. More than 70,000 people have died in the conflict.
(Courtesy : International Hearald Tribune)
|Last Updated ( Monday, 02 February 2009 )|
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