For several years, the Free Media Movement (FMM) of Sri Lanka and free expression advocates has dubbed January as “Black January”. This was in the context of large number of journalists killed, disappeared, assaulted, as well as attacks on media institutions – all in January. 24th is one such Black day in January. The Trincomalee based Tamil journalist Subramaniyam Sugirtharajan, was shot dead on 24th January 2006. The Colombo based Sinhalese cartoonist and journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda disappeared on 24th January 2010.

The almost forgotten journalist killing: Subramaniyam Sugirtharajan

Sugirtharajan, popularly known as SSR, was a part-time provincial journalist working for the Tamil language daily Sudar Oli. He was a father of two children.

 
 “All must be free to express their concerns, their needs, their aspirations and their fears” Pope Francis, at the Katunayake International airport, on arrival to Sri Lanka on 13th January 2015.

Amidst killings, disappearances, assaults, threats, intimidations, harassments and restrictions on journalists, widespread self-censorship and exile of journalists critical of the government, surveillance and blocking of websites, and absolute impunity, there was very little to celebrate World Press Freedom day in Sri Lanka last few years. Perhaps the only thing to celebrate was the resilience of few who dared to express their views at grave risk to themselves, colleagues, families and institutions.

 
 “All must be free to express their concerns, their needs, their aspirations and their fears” Pope Francis, at the Katunayake International airport, on arrival to Sri Lanka on 13th January 2015.

Amidst killings, disappearances, assaults, threats, intimidations, harassments and restrictions on journalists, widespread self-censorship and exile of journalists critical of the government, surveillance and blocking of websites, and absolute impunity, there was very little to celebrate World Press Freedom day in Sri Lanka last few years. Perhaps the only thing to celebrate was the resilience of few who dared to express their views at grave risk to themselves, colleagues, families and institutions.

A protest march organized by the Inter University Students’ Federation was held yesterday. The students went on a demonstration demanding the government to,

  • 1.      Increase Mahapola and Bursary payment to Rs.5000
  • 2.      Increase Funds for Education
  • 3.      Increase Workers’ Wages
  • 4.      Abolish the Fraud Private Medical College in Malambe
  • 5.      End Privatization
  • 6.      End Tuition fees for External Degrees
  • 7.      End Repression of students
  • 8.      End Militarization
  • 9.      End Charging Fees at Schools

During a meeting in the Bishop conference in Paris, Ruki explains he three main objectives of his action:

1 to stop the violences which are still going on, 4 years after the end of the war

2 to make justice after a 30 years war, at least to make crimes acknowledged

3 to understand the root causes of this dreadful history.

Letter to His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, President, Catholic Bishops Conference of Sri Lanka

The 9th Networking meeting of Asia Pacific Justice and Peace Workers was held in Kandy and Mannar from 3rd to 9th September 2013. We spent a significant amount of time to learn about human rights situation in Sri Lanka and your peoples’ struggles for justice.

One week was not enough for us to understand all issues related to human rights, justice and peace in Sri Lanka, their complexities, and interact with large number of Sri Lankans within and outside the Church. But our interactions with two Catholic Bishops, several Catholic priests, sisters, lay persons
,as well as those affected by injustices and their families in the North enabled us to get some glimpses and form some impressions about the human rights and justice and peace situation in Sri Lanka today.