INSI Calls on Sri Lanka Government to Ensure Safety of Regional Representative

16 June 2008

The International News Safety Institute is gravely concerned by the death threat against prominant Sri Lankan journalist and INSI representative Frederica Jansz and seeks immediate government action to ensure her safety.

An unidentified person phoned Ms Jansz at 1130 on 14 June and, speaking in Sinhalese, said she was involved in a lot of unnecessary work and must cease immediately or in a very short period of time see what would happen to her. When asked to be more specific about the so-called unnecessary work, the caller responded that she knew what it was and then repeated the threat before hanging up.

Ms Jansz is former Deputy Editor of the Sunday Leader, Editor of the monthly magazine Montage and a leading investigative journalist. She is also South Asia co-coordinator of the International News Safety Institute, an NGO dedicated to the safety of news media in dangerous situations.

“This latest threat against the life of a journalist, even in Sri Lanka’s turmoil, is completely unacceptable,” said INSI Director Rodney Pinder. “Ms Jansz is a professional journalist simply doing her job of keeping her society informed. In addition, she is engaged for INSI on the entirely peaceful and vital work of trying to make South Asia a safer place for working journalists. This threatens no one and helps many.

“We call on the government of Sri Lanka to investigate this threat swiftly and comprehensively and to ensure Ms Jansz’s safety.”

Ms Jansz received number of indirect threats during the month of May. On one occasion a heavy vehicle was parked outside her residence for an hour, its lights on and engine revving. In early May a headless chicken was left in front of her office.

Any questions on this news release should be addressed to Rodney Pinder, email tel +44 7734 709267