The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the attempted murder of journalist Radhika Devakumar in her home in Batticaloa, in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province, on September 8.
According to the Free Media Movement (FMM), an IFJ affiliate, a gang of unidentified gunmen entered Devakumar’s house and shot her three times in the abdomen, chest and shoulder, leaving her critically injured.
Devakumar works as the media secretary for a minister of the Eastern Provincial Council. She had previously worked as a provincial correspondent for the Tinkaran Tamil language daily for eight years and as a freelancer for Shakthi TV. She also ran her own media development organisation near Batticaloa town, the FMM reports.
In 2007, as a radio program producer for Internews, Devakumar won the national award for Reporting Diversity and Respect for Tolerance under the Public Service Media Prize Program organised by Sri Lanka’s five leading journalists’ organisations.
“The attack on Radhika Devakumar is a gross violation of her human rights,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
“Sadly, such violations are all too common in Sri Lanka. More than a dozen journalists and media workers have been murdered in the country since 2006, and in not one case has a perpetrator been brought to justice.”
FMM said the failure to protect journalists in Sri Lanka shows that the rule of law is hostage to armed groups, which does not bode well for sustainable and meaningful peace in the country.
The IFJ joins FMM in condemning the attack on Devakumar and demanding that authorities conduct immediately an independent inquiry and provide appropriate protection for Devakumar’s family until the perpetrators are brought to justice.