Less than a month ago, Benett Rupasinghe the editor of Lanka-E-News website in Sri Lanka has been arrested by the Sri Lankan Police while the Chief editor had already fled the country fearing persecution. According to the statement by Journalist for Democracy in Sri Lanka (or JDS) issued on March 31th :
“The office of the Lanka-E-News in the very outskirts of capital Colombo, was burnt down last month by an ‘unknown group’ of people”.
And today (April 28) the court in Sri Lanka has ordered the closure of the website, which has been critical thus long been harassed. “Unprecedented” the JDS protests in a new statement.
Is this a Sri Lankan styled- ‘Judiciary Coup’, which is something familiar words in Thailand, which is in Sri Lankan context ‘against journalists’ – not the elected rulers-?
Full script of the statement is following.
– Penseur21 –
2011 April 28 | 14:35 GMT
Journalist For Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) protests against the unprecedented move where a court in Sri Lanka has ordered the closure of a website critical of the government.
Pugoda Magistrate and Additional District Judge Aravinda Perera ordered the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TLC) on Thursday to take measures to ban Lanka-E-News website in Sri Lanka. While JDS is of the firm view that there is no legal provisions for the judiciary to obstruct media sites, we strongly believe that in gagging a media outlet for an erroneous news item, the courts has overstepped its mandate. JDS also wishes to state that Lanka-E-News has already published an apology for the news item found to be in contempt of court. Despite publishing an apology, on the 25th of April, the police arrested journalist Shantha Wijessoriya attached to the website charged with contempt of court by publishing the report.
The Magistrate also ordered the arrested journalist to be held in protective custody until 12th May, when he was produced before courts today (28).Journalist For Democracy in Sri Lanka calls upon all democratic forces to oppose and to urge the courts to immediately revoke this order that poses a serious threat to freedom of expression in Sri Lanka.
Journalist for Democracy in Sri Lanka