November 18, 2016
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Free Media Movement (FMM), Sri Lanka Friday condemned an attack and threats made to a journalist for his reporting in Trincomalee, Eastern Province of Sri Lanka on November 15. The IFJ demanded immediate investigation and arrest of those responsible.
On Tuesday, journalist Mohammed Geeth was attacked by the workers of a restaurant after a person claiming to be a media secretary of a local politician threatened him for reporting about hygiene of the restaurant food. Geeth had filed a report, which claimed the restaurant does not maintain hygiene after public health officials removed some unhealthy food during inspection.
Geeth escaped the attack with the help of witnesses. Following the attack, a group of unknown people went to his home that evening and threatened him. The journalist has filed a police complaint and was admitted to hospital on November 16. The police have arrested three people in connection with the incident.
FMM convener Seetha Rajanee and secretary C Dodawatta called the incident an attempt to silence regional journalists by disrupting their professional freedom. They said: “Even though it was reported that three workers who were involved in the attack were arrested by the police, there are several other incidents that emphasize the need of investigation on the political backing of the attack.”
The FMM added: “A situation where journalists can carry out their professional work freely should be established to achieve good governance. The FMM urges the government which came into power by promising such environment, to stop hunting journalists for revealing political forces and ensure the security of regional journalists.”
The IFJ said: “The IFJ condemns the attack and threat to journalist in Trincomalee and urges the Sri Lankan authorities to take every measure to ensure punishment to the responsible; and to establish a safe working environment for journalists in Sri Lanka.” - IFJ media release
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