Defence secretary threatens journalist during interview
"The threat against journalist Frederica Jansz is the latest demonstration of the Sri Lankan government's systematic attacks against independent and opposition-supporting journalists and media houses. They have showered scorn on journalists and shown a complete inability or unwillingness to prosecute perpetrators of violence toward and the killing of journalists," said Dr Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 executive director.
"We urge the authorities to keep Frederica Jansz safe. We also urge embassies in Sri Lanka to raise her case with the government."
Frederica Jansz works for Sri Lankan daily newspaper, The Sunday Leader, and was conducting a phone interview with Rajapaksa, who is also the brother of the president.
According to The Sunday Leader, Rajapaksa told Jansz during the interview: "You pig that eats shit! You shit shit dirty fucking journalist! [ . . . ] People will kill you! People hate you! They will kill you!"
The Sunday Leader and its journalists face regular attack. The newspaper's editor, Lasantha Wickramatunge, was assassinated on his way to work on 8 January 2009. Nobody has ever been prosecuted for the crime.
Censorship and violence has recently increased against online sources of information and their authors. On 29 June, eight journalists and an assistant were arrested after the Sri Lankan police raided the offices of two news websites, srilankamirror.com and srilankaxnews.com.
Click here for further information on the interview and background on Rajapaksa.
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