02 May, 2008 – Published 13:55 GMT
Lanka a ‘press freedom predator’
Sri Lanka is among major “predators” of press freedom in the world, an international media watchdog said.
Defence Secreatry Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran are among the major “predators” of press freedom, Paris based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.
“Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse often voices virulent attacks on the press, contributing to the appalling climate that prevails there,” the RSF statement said.
“In the north of the country, Velupillai Prabhakaran, the long-time leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels, continues to intimidate journalists who criticise his movement”.
The media watchdog has been exposing the “predators of press freedom”, leaders who directly attack journalists or order others to do so, for the last seven years.
“They usually answer to no-one for their serious attacks on freedom of expression. Failure to punish them is one of the greatest threats to the media today,” the statement issued on Friday said.
The watchdog has listed 39 “predators” who threat media freedom worldwide.
Israeli security forces, Hamas militants, Palestinian security forces, President of Turkmenistan, and armed groups and authorities in Somalia are among the other “predators”, according to the RSF.
Ten names including former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf were removed from the last year’s list.