The risks of journalism in Sri Lanka

The editor of Sri Lanka’s Sunday Leader newspaper was murdered on January 11. A few days before his murder, he wrote an editorial to be published upon his death:

No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the past few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print-media institutions have been burnt, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories and now especially the last.

Here is describing his newspaper’s mission:

Every newspaper has its angle, and we do not hide the fact that we have ours. Our commitment is to see Sri Lanka as a transparent, secular, liberal democracy. Think about those words, for they each has profound meaning. Transparent because government must be openly accountable to the people and never abuse their trust. Secular because in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society such as ours, secularism offers the only common ground by which we might all be united. Liberal because we recognise that all human beings are created different, and we need to accept others for what they are and not what we would like them to be. And democratic… well, if you need me to explain why that is important, you’d best stop buying this paper.

Today, The Big Picture has a series of photos from Sri Lanka’s once again escalating civil war, including one from the funeral of Lasantha Wickrematunga, the author of the linked editorial.

For background on Sri Lanka, see this 2003 New York Times article which describes how Tamil separatists in Sri Lanka perfected and popularized suicide bombing.

Also, Tony Bourdain’s travel show No Reservations featured Sri Lanka a couple of weeks ago. You can find some behind the scenes info at this blog, written by one of Tony’s hosts, Skiz.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>