In a letter to the President, JPC said that many Tamil journalists and media workers had been killed or gone missing in the last two decades.
Welcoming the President’s announcement to conduct an inquiry into the disappearance of Sinhalese cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda, JPC stressed the need for inquiries into the killings and disappearances of all journalists and media workers, particularly in the North-East. It emphasised that any such inquiries should be carried out under the watch of impartial international media organisations.
Read full text of letter below:
“With the assassination of journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan in 2000 setting the stage for violence against Tamil journalists, the path was opened for many to go missing or be killed in the North-East, ever since. In particular many journalists have been killed in the Jaffna Peninsula. Some have gone missing. Other media workers have also been killed or gone missing. Media organisations have been attacked several times.
“At the same time, many journalists were killed, unidentified, in Vanni in the war period. There is even today a continued narrative wherein they are not acknowledged as journalists. In particular there is no verifiable information whatsoever about the missing and dead journalists from the final stages of the war.
“Not a single inquiry has specifically been undertaken into the unlawful killings and abductions which have taken place. With the initial stage inquiries, they have been left in a state of pending. Yet several different parties have come into power and have created commissions to appear as if they are undertaking inquiries, and by claiming that those commissions will bring about resolutions, have instead destroyed the statements and testimonies of colleagues of the killed or missing. To this day, we still cannot learn what has happened to those commissions or their reports.
“In relation to fellow journalist Prageeth, you have proclaimed that inquiries into missing people will recommence. Jaffna Press Club welcomes this announcement wholeheartedly. But we hope that it will not merely be an inquiry in name or left in pending.
“While speaking of Prageeth, we must emphasise the need for inquiries, from the disappearance of Ramachandran in Jaffna, to those journalists and media workers that have gone missing from Vanni. We would also like to stress the need for inquiries into the murders of all journalists and media workers, and that those responsible must be brought to justice.
“However we can never have trust in inquiries undertaken with the same security mechanisms related to journalist killings and abductions. Therefore we would like to clarify our demands for inquiries carried out under the scrutiny of impartial international media organisations.”