After harassing a group of 15 journalists who were heading to Colombo to take part in a meeting with the journalists in South, the SL military has instigated a hate campaign in South organising a protest against the meeting at Sri Lanka Press Institute in Colombo on Saturday. The harassment follows after the recent warning to aid groups to not providing funding to journalist workshops and SL military interference in the training sessions to Tamil journalists on investigative journalism.
15 Tamil journalists were traveling in 2 vehicles from Jaffna, Mullaiththeevu and Ki’linochchi districts to Colombo for a weekend meeting with the journalists in South at Sri Lanka Press Institute.
An unidentified vehicle was following one of the vehicles with 7 journalists from Jaffna to Naavatkuzhi. The harassment was stepped up after the vehicle had crossed the military check post at Elephant Pass.
The journalists were stopped at Maangku’lam and checked again by SL military. The military officers carefully noted down the names of the journalists.
When the vehicle arrived at Oamanthai check post, a Sri Lankan soldier placed a cigarette box inside the vehicle and his fellow soldiers ‘declared’ that they have found ‘ganja’ narcotics in the cigarette box. The SL soldiers instructed the Sinhala policemen at the check post to detain the 7 journalists together with their driver.
The 15 journalists together staged a protest opposing the SL military sabotage at the site for 6 hours. The journalists filed a complaint against the SL soldier and demanded legal action. Finally, the SL police allowed the journalists to proceed, but detained the driver of the vehicle.
On Saturday, a group of SL military backed individuals staged a demonstration against the Tamil journalists outside the Sri Lanka Press Institute where a training session was to be conducted. The training has been called off, according to media rights groups in Colombo.