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Freelance journalist threatened with murder by ruling party politician in Matale district

(FMM/IFEX) - The following is a 9 June 2008 FMM press release:

Provincial journalist threatened

It has been reported to the FMM that journalist Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa of Dambulla, Matale district was threatened with death by a ruling party politician in the area. Kanchana Kumara works for a number of newspapers and radio stations as a freelancer.

According to the police complaint (no. CIB 71/68) made by Kanchana Kumara, Matale Pradeshiya Shaba member H.M. Rupasinghe threatened him on 5 June 2008 when he visited the hospital to cover a murder case. Rupasinghe used abusive language and sharply criticised all journalists present.

FMM condemns the unacceptable and violent behaviour of this local politician. Being a politician is not a licence to violate people's rights, including the right to freedom of expression. It is frightening that intolerance of independent reportage is becoming a menace all over the country. In this context, FMM views this incident as a yet another attack on media freedom in the country.

FMM joins provincial journalists' organization in demanding a speedy and impartial inquiry into this incident. Now it is the government's responsibility to bring charges against this unruly politician.

FMM is one of the five major media organizations in Sri Lanka working together as the Sri Lanka Media Centre.

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