Message from the Grave

This remarkable article by the editor of the Sri Lankan Sunday Leader was published three days after he was gunned down outside his house. Lasantha Wickrematunge was an outspoken critic of the government and the strict control they exercised on the media. He foresaw his death, hoping it would serve as an inspiration rather that as a defeat of freedom.Despite the internet providing a means for local Sri Lankan media to have an international reach, the government seems to be winning the battle for its control.

2 Responses to “Message from the Grave”

  1. 1 rosalieesilva March 15, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    What a harrowing story…Have you heard about Sri Lankan Tamil journalist JS Tissainayagam?

    The Sri Lankan government convicted him using a terrorism charge.
    He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with hard labour. Ernest Sagaga, of the International Federation of Journalists, says Mr Tissainayagam was convicted “not because he was a member of any organisation, not because he took up arms, but simply because he wrote articles critical of the government”.

    We’re so lucky to live and work in a country where we don’t have to live in fear of the consequences of what we write (for the most part!).

    • 2 alexdunham March 20, 2010 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Roselie,

      I believe JS Tissainayagam is the first journalist to be convicted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

      I recently interviewed Uvindu Kurukulasuriya, a Sri Lankan journalist who was forced to flee his country after receiving numerous death threats from the government. He made the point that in Sri Lanka, reporters are paid not to write rather than to write.

      As Uvindu said “If you’re a journalist you have a choice of whether to compromise or to fight.” A lethal struggle for those willing to deplore all that is wrong on their island.

      There have been 19 journalists and media workers killed and dozens of death threats issued in the past four years. Recently re-elected president Mahinda Rajapakse denies any persecution of journalists or media censorship.

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