‘Black January’ protests Govt. failure to find journalists’ killers

General Fonseka, Opposition politicians join demo


by Zacki Jabbar

The Alliance of Media Organizations yesterday staged ‘Black January’, at Lipton Circus, demanding that the Rajapaksa regime conducts proper investigations into the killing of all journalists and attacks on news organisation offices, including those committed under its rule.

A large number of placard carrying and slogan shouting journalists, belonging to seven media groups, gathered at the Lipton Circus roundabout yesterday afternoon. After demonstrating for a while, demanding that justice be meted out to those who had eliminated their colleagues, they proceeded to the National Library where a meeting was held.

Many politicians were in attendance, including the former Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka and UNP, JVP and DNA parliamentarians. Representatives of the FSP, USA, Lawyers Collective, university lecturers, trade unionists and civil society organizations also participated.

A spokesman for the organizers said that no politician was invited, but they had come voluntarily.

The journalists demanded that the killing and assaults on all their colleagues including, Lasantha Wickremetunga and Sivaram (Taraki) and the disappearance of Cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda be properly investigated and justice be meted out to the offenders.

They also lamented the lethargy and lack of progress in the inquiries into attacks on news organisation offices, including ‘Sirasa’ Radio and Television and the websites Lanka E-News, SriLanka Mirror and SrilankaXnews, even though it had occurred over two years ago.

Many of the speakers noted that when any harm befell government politicians, the police had acted very swiftly and in most instances arrested the suspects within days and sometimes in a matter of hours, but the same efficiency was not displayed when members of the fourth estate were harmed.

They also called on the Rajapaksa regime to introduce, without any further delay, the Right to Information Act, if it was truly committed to transparency and good governance.

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