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Television journalist hacked to death in Jaffna

(FMM/IFEX) - The following is an FMM press release:

Journalist hacked to death in Jaffna

28th May 2008, Colombo, Sri Lanka - The FMM reports with deep sadness that yet another journalist has been murdered in Jaffna, in the embattled Northern Province of Sri Lanka. The FMM vehemently condemns this dastardly act and extends its condolences to the late journalist's wife and family.

P. Devakumar, a correspondent for Sirasa TV, Shakthi radio and the MTV Television Network-Jaffna district, was hacked to death on the evening of 28 May 2008 in Navanthurei on his way home from Jaffna town. A friend of Devakumar was also killed in the attack. Devakumar, a resident of Vaddukoddai, Jaffna, was 36 years old and married for one year. He had worked for MTV for nearly three years.

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

Jaffna, the main city in the embattled Northern Peninsula, 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 or media worker has been investigated to the point that a perpetrator has been brought to justice. The FMM is fearful that the investigations into Devakumar's murder will suffer a similar fate.

It is with sickeningly increasing frequency that the FMM is 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.

Devakumar's death must be investigated urgently, meaningfully and impartially. The repugnant impunity that aids and abets violence against journalists and media personnel must come to an end.

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