04 June 2004

IFJ Condemns "Brutal Slaying" of Leading Tamil Journalist in Sri Lanka

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation of journalists representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, has condemned the brutal murder of leading Tamil journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan, who was shot dead on 31 May 2004.

According to reports, Nadesan was gunned down by a group of unidentified assailants in Baticaloa, a town some 200 km east of Colombo, while he was on his way to work.

Nadesan was the vice-president of the Eastern Journalists Association and correspondent for the Virakesari Tamil daily, Shakthi TV and the Tamil-language service of the London-based radio station IBC News Service. It is understood that he received the “Best Tamil Journalist” prize in 2000 and won the Sahithya Academy Award for his book History of Ethnic Strife.

“It is always shocking when a prominent journalist and leader is killed,” said IFJ President Christopher Warren today.

“This horrific murder underlines that work must continue on the peace process in Sri Lanka, and that media should never have to pay the ultimate price for ongoing internal conflict,” said Warren.

Nadesan was known for his fearless and credible journalism and had gained the admiration and recognition by the international community.

The slaying of Nadesan, known for his work critical of the Sri Lanka Government and paramilitary groups, comes in the wake of an article written by him analysing the series of crimes and killings in Baticoloa.

The IFJ strongly condemns the murder of Nadesan and expresses concern that this attack comes in the wake of several such attacks against journalists in Sri Lanka.

His murder follows the raid on the home of a Sri Lankan Tamil journalist, Sivaram Dharmeratnam (Taraki), by the Sri Lankan Police on Monday, 3 May 2004.

The IFJ calls upon the Sri Lanka Government to initiate an impartial investigation into this murder and make every effort to bring the perpetrators of this tragic crime to book.

Further information is available on in the IFJ Asia website at www.ifj-asia.org

For further information contact IFJ President Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668


The IFJ has written to the Government of Sri Lanka in the following letter:

4 June 2004

Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
President
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Presidential Secretariat
Colombo-1, Sri Lanka
Fax: +94 1 2333703

Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa
Prime Minister
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
58 Sri Ernest de SilvaMwatha,
Colombo –7
Sri Lanka
Fax: +94 1 2542918
Email: templetrees@sltnet.lk


Dear President and Prime Minister,

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation of journalists representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, condemns the murder of leading Tamil journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan, who was shot dead on 31 May 2004.

According to reports, Nadesan was gunned down by a group of unidentified assailants in Baticaloa, a town some 200 km east of Colombo, while he was on his way to work.

Nadesan was the vice-president of the Eastern Journalists Association and correspondent for the Virakesari Tamil daily, Shakthi TV and the Tamil-language service of the London-based radio station IBC News Service. It is understood that he received the “Best Tamil Journalist” prize in 2000 and won the Sahithya Academy Award for his book History of Ethnic Strife.

It is always shocking when a prominent journalist and leader is killed. This horrific murder underlines that work must continue on the peace process in Sri Lanka, and that media should never have to pay the ultimate price for ongoing internal conflict.

The IFJ strongly condemns the murder of Nadesan and expresses concern that this attack comes in the wake of several such attacks against journalists in Sri Lanka.

His murder follows the raid on the home of a Sri Lankan Tamil journalist, Sivaram Dharmeratnam (Taraki), by the Sri Lankan Police on Monday, 3 May 2004.

The IFJ calls upon the Sri Lanka Government to initiate an impartial investigation into this murder and make every effort to bring the perpetrators of this tragic crime to book.

Finally, we call on your Government to do all that is necessary to ensure the safety of all journalists working in Sri Lanka and to create the conditions for a climate of genuine press freedom in Sri Lanka.

Yours sincerely



Christopher Warren
IFJ President

CC. Inspector General of Police
Indra De Silva
Police Head Quarters
Colombo 1
Fax: +94 1 2446174

CC. Mr. Ranjith Abeysooriya
Chairman
National Police Commission
No. 69/1, Ward Place
Colombo 7
Fax: +94 1 2669528

Recommended Action:

Send appeals to the Government of Sri Lanka

  • Condemning the murder of Tamil journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan,
  • Calling for an impartial investigation into the murder of Nadesan
  • Urging the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure the safety of all journalists working in Sri Lanka.

    Appeals:

    Chandrika B. Kumarathunga
    President
    Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
    Presidential Secretariat
    Colombo-1, Sri Lanka
    Fax: +94 1 2333703

    Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa
    Prime Minister
    Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
    58 Sri Ernest de SilvaMwatha,
    Colombo –7
    Sri Lanka
    Fax: +94 1 2542918
    Email: templetrees@sltnet.lk

    CC. Inspector General of Police
    Indra De Silva
    Police Head Quarters
    Colombo 1
    Fax: +94 1 2446174

    CC. Mr. Ranjith Abeysooriya
    Chairman
    National Police Commission
    No. 69/1, Ward Place
    Colombo 7
    Fax: +94 1 2669528

    Please copy appeals to the IFJ Asia Office at ifj@ifj-asia.org

    For more information please contact IFJ Asia at ifj@ifj-asia.org
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