Journalist, friend hacked to death in Sri Lanka

May 29th, 2008 - 1:48 pm ICT by admin  

Colombo, May 29 (IANS) A Tamil journalist and his friend were hacked to death in the heavily-guarded northern Jaffna peninsula by unknown men, a media rights group here said Thursday. “Sirasa, Shakthi and MTV Television Network Jaffna district correspondent P. Devakumar was hacked to death Wednesday evening in Navanthurei on his way home from Jaffna town. A friend of Devakumar was also killed in the attack,” Free Media Movement (FMM), an independent media rights group, said in a statement.

Vehemently condemning the killing as a “dastardly act”, the FMM said Devakumar, 36, a resident of Vaddukoddai, Jaffna had been working for MTV for about three years.

“We note that Devakumar is the ninth journalist/media worker killed in Jaffna since 2006 and that three more journalists/media workers have been abducted in Jaffna since the same year,” the statement said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the killing so far.

“Jaffna, the main city in the embattled Northern Peninsula of Sri Lanka, has been under government military control for over a decade and is heavily policed and fortified.

“However, not a single disappearance, abduction or murder of a journalist/media worker has been investigated that has brought those responsible to book. We are fearful that investigations into Devakumar’s murder will also suffer a similar fate,” the statement added.

Demanding that the authorities hold an immediate and impartial investigation into the killing of Devakumar, the FMM said that “the repugnant impunity that aids and abets violence against journalists and media personnel must come to an end”.

“It is with sickeningly increasing frequency that we are compelled to ask the government to take concrete measures to halt the killing, assault and intimidation of journalists in Sri Lanka. Vociferous condemnations and promises of inquiries are meaningless without the political will to push forward investigations,” it said.

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