IFJ Launches Video Campaign to Free Sri Lankan Journalist


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its local affiliates in Sri Lanka today launched an online campaign video condemning the arrest and indictment of senior Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainyagam, whose passed his sixth month in jail on September 7.

All individuals and organisations are invited to join the campaign to Stop the War on Journalists in Sri Lanka and watch the “Release Tissa” video at http://asiapacific.ifj.org/articles/free-tissainayagam to help generate international support to end the attacks on free media in Sri Lanka.

Tissainayagam was arrested on March 7, 2008, while working as the editor of the online magazine www.outreachsl.com.

After being held for five months without charge, Tissainayagam has been formally indicted by the High Court of Sri Lanka under emergency and anti-terrorism laws, according to the Free Media Movement (FMM), an IFJ affiliate.

The indictment reportedly refers to the printing, publishing and distribution of the North Eastern Monthly between June 1, 2006, and June 1, 2007; alleged offences to do with bringing the Government into disrepute; and the violation of 2006 Emergency Regulations with regard to allegations of aiding and abetting terrorist organisations through raising money for the magazine.

“The indictment against Tissainyagam in a country where journalism and journalists already face extreme threats marks a dangerous turning point for freedom of expression and the right to information in Sri Lanka,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

“The IFJ joins the international press freedom community in supporting our Sri Lankan colleagues who continue tirelessly to fight for the safety and protection of their colleagues and friends, including Tissainyagam.”