[photo:Free Media Movement protest in Jaffna for protection of Tamil journalists]
Northern Province Journalists were impeded by Sri Lankan Police, Army and intelligence joint operation while travelled to attend a workshop and a discussion on digital security. This workshop facilitated by some media organization from south and Jaffna Press Club. Jaffna Press Club is an independent collective of media personal and registered organization mandated for journalist welfare and empowerment in north.
Yesterday evening, eleven selected media personals from north hired a private vehicle and stared their journey to Colombo to attend that workshop. Those entire 11 journalists are active in reveling militarization, atrocities of Sri Lankan Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism.
Their Names are listed below
According to the journalist’s information first they were followed by unidentified people (Suspecting Military Intelligence) at Jaffna town, when they departed from Jaffna. Later, while they were travelling to Colombo after passing Kilinochchi first stopped at Maankulam, police officers at the patrolling shouted that their vehicle failed to stop at Elephant Pass check post for screening, police officers tried to check the vehicle. Later, those journalist identified them as journalists and said that travelling for a workshop to colombo they(Police) released the vehicle and let them to travel. Notably, Screening and vehicle checking at Elephant Pass Check post was stopped many months before, further journalist said that their vehicle or vehicles travelled front and back of them also not been stopped according to their observation and knowledge.
While they pursued the journey they were stopped again at Oomanthai check post by two civil clothed (without uniform) police officers and three army personals in Uniform. This is an unusual practice, officers not in uniform never deployed for checking or questioning at Oomanthai before. They tend to check the vehicle, at the same time one journalist observed that a small parcel dropped under the driver seat by a soldier while they checked the vehicle. That journalist passed that information to other colleagues and driver as well. Before that driver and travelled journalists checked that white coloured parcel police had taken it out and accused that that was a cannabis parcel which is a banned illicit drug in Sri Lanka. More police support for arrest called from Oomantha police station.
When police try to arrest all those journalists and driver of the vehicle journalist said to police that if you arrest all us then we would be compelled to say that particular soldier only dropped that parcel under the seat of driver to make up the case and will request the court or relevant government to check the fingerprint and more.
After the heated arguments Officer in Charge of the Oomanthai police Station released those entire journalists and detained the driver for further inquiries. Now journalists are again on the way to attend the workshop by a public transport bus service. They concerned about their security and detained driver’s security. Journalists are urging right activists and media to voice over this new trend of impending by fabricating cases.
Further those victimized journalists said that “again Oomanthai Check post had proved that it can act as a brutal torture point with the name of screening check post”. They added that these form of intimidation conducted with the intention of pressuring the service providers and general public or activist to refrain from supporting to activist and activism.
Note: This is the third time that Tamil journalists are been threatened and impeded from attending journalism workshops and discussion. First Incident recorded at Mihinthala and second at Negombo in the recent history.
Those two incidents were involved with Sri Lankan Sinhala extremist Buddhist organization Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and this one purely Sri Lanka security forces and police.
[This post was written by a Sri Lankan HRD]