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Leading investigative journalist receives death threat

(FMM/IFEX) - The following is a 14 June 2008 FMM press release:

Another senior journalist receives a death threat in Sri Lanka

14 June 2008, Colombo, Sri Lanka - The Free Media Movement (FMM) is deeply alarmed that another well-known journalist received a death threat this morning from an unknown caller. Former deputy editor of the "Sunday Leader", editor of the monthly magazine "Montage" and leading investigative journalist and South Asia co-coordinator of the International News Safety Institute (INSI) Frederica Jansz received the death threat at approximately 11:30 a.m.

The FMM condemns this threat in the strongest terms and, given the threatening situation in Sri Lanka for independent media and journalists, takes this threat very seriously.

The caller, calling from +94 11 2424617, spoke in Sinhalese and first asked if it was Frederica Jansz speaking. Proceeding thereafter to tell her that she was involved in a lot of unnecessary work, the caller told her to stop immediately or that she would see in a very short period of time what would happen to her. When asked by Jansz to be more specific on what kind of unnecessary work she was involved in, he replied that she knew what it was and then repeated the threat.

Jansz had received a number of indirect threats during the month of May. On one occasion, on 28 May at around 4:30 a.m., a heavy vehicle was parked outside her residence for an hour with its lights on and engine revving. In early May, a decapitated chicken was left in front of her office.

As the FMM's appeals for redress from the government and law enforcement agencies on hundreds of threats to media during the last year have completely failed, we appeal to all local and international democratic actors to ensure that the safety of journalists and media freedom are protected in Sri Lanka at a time when just speaking one's mind is reason enough to be abducted, beaten up or worse.

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