28th May 2008, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Free Media Movement (FMM) reports with deep sadness that yet another journalist was murdered today in Jaffna, in the embattled Northern Province of Sri Lanka. The FMM vehemently condemns this dastardly act and extend our condolences to his wife and family.
Sirasa, Shakthi and MTV Television Network Jaffna district correspondent P. Devakumar was hacked to death this evening in Navanthurei on his way home from Jaffna town. A friend of Devakumar was also killed by in the attack. Devakumar, a resident of Vaddukoddai, Jaffna, was 36 years old and married for one year. He had worked for MTV for nearly three years.
We note that Devakumar is the 9th journalist/media worker killed in Jaffna since 2006 and that three more journalists/media workers have been abducted in Jaffna since the same year.
Jaffna, the main city in the embattled Northern Peninsula of Sri Lanka, has been under government military control for over a decade and is heavily policed and fortified. However, not a single disappearance, abduction or murder of a journalist / media worker has been investigated that has brought those responsible to book. We are fearful that investigations into Devakumar’s murder will also suffer a similar fate.
It is with sickeningly increasing frequency that we are compelled to ask the government to take concrete measures to halt the killing, assault and intimidation of journalists in Sri Lanka. Vociferous condemnations and promises of inquiries are meaningless without the political will to push forward investigations.
Devakumar’s death must be investigated urgently, meaningfully and impartially. The repugnant impunity that aids and abets violence against journalists and media personnel must come to an end.