LakbimwaNews have details about the journalists who have fled the country due to the climate of fear. Among them are some of Sri Lanka’s top columnists and media personalities. The report is as follows:
Four more journalists have fled the country last week fearing for their lives. They are Sanath Balasuriya and Poddala Jayantha of Lake House, Sunanda Deshapriya and Uvindu Kurukulasuriya of the Free Media Movement.
Last week Upul Joseph Fernando of the Lankadeepa, Rathnapala Gamage of Lankadeepa, and Chevan Daniel of MTV left the country.
In addition, Iqbal Athas, Keith Noyahr, Namal Perera and Anuruddha Lokuhappuarachchi had already left the country.
Threats against the media from unidentified armed elements have increased dramatically after the killing of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge. Now the latest attack on the editor of the Rivira newspaper and chairman of the Editor’s Guild of Sri Lanka, Upali Tennakoon and his wife on January 23 at Imbulgoda, in Gampaha has driven a sense of fear into journalists who now fear for their lives.
Police have so far been unable to arrest anyone in connection with these attacks.
Chief Government Whip, Dinesh Gunawardena told parliament that from January 01 2006 upto now, nine journalists had been killed and 27 others had been assaulted. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena also said that five journalists had been kidnapped. Four of them have been released. (emphasis added)