All journalists, including Sandaruwan Senadheera of Lanka E news, who are said to have disappeared, are living abroad, government MP Arundika Fernando told Parliament today.
He said Mr. Senadeera was running the Lankaenews website from London.
Mr. Fernando said it was questionable how these journalists obtained political asylum overseas.
Citing an example, he said journalist Sunanda Deshapriya had no reason to flee the country. He said Mr. Deshapriya’s brother would not have been appointed to the post of Elections Commissioner if this government was opposed to journalists.
UNP MP Ajith P Perera said Mr. Fernando should not use his parliamentary privilege to say nonsensical things(Daily Mirror)
Over 20 Sri Lankan journalists have gone into exile between June 2008 to May 2013 and 3 of them have returned to the country, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a new report.
According to CPJ, 26 journalists fled Sri Lanka during that period including three between June last year and May this year.
CPJ says journalism work-related murders have declined since 2009 in Sri Lanka, but the slayings of nine journalists have gone unsolved over the last decade, one of the worst records of impunity in the world.
CPJ recalled that last year the government moved aggressively to obstruct the flow of information.
In July of last year, the Ministry of Media and Information blocked efforts to introduce a freedom of information legislation before parliament, saying national security would be threatened if citizens were given access to public documents.
The government had barred previous right-to-information efforts, including one in 2011.
In June of last year, police raided the offices of two opposition news websites, arresting staff members and confiscating equipment and in March last year, the authorities told all news organizations they must obtain prior official approval before issuing any text or SMS news alerts that carried information about the military or police.(Colombo Gazette)