Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Sri Lanka 16 February 2009

Tamil journalist killed in bombardment amounting to "war crime"

Reporters Without Borders today expressed revulsion at the death of a Tamil journalist in a Sri Lankan Army bombardment on the north of the country, which it described as a "war crime".

Punniyamurthy Sathyamurthy was killed during an air raid on 12 February on Thevipuram, Mullaithivu district in the region of Vanni, being fought over by the army and rebel Tamil Tigers (LTTE). He had recently filed news of the plight of civilians in the latest wave of fighting.

"Army air strikes and artillery fire on areas where there are tens of thousands of civilians, including Tamil journalists, are war crimes" the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

"The death of Sathyamurthy shows the extent to which witnesses to the military offensive have no protection. We call on the international community to secure a ceasefire to save the lives of these civilians," it added.

Based in Vanni, controlled until recently by the LTTE, he worked with a number of Tamil media, mainly in Canada. One of his colleagues told Reporters Without Borders that he "cared passionately about the plight of the Tamil people and was not afraid of anything.(...) We cannot rule out that he was deliberately targeted", he added.

The journalist had worked for five years for Canadian Tamil Radio, Canadian Multicultural Radio and Tamil Vision International television, all based in Canada. His articles were regularly carried by websites and media of the Tamil diaspora.

He was born in 1972 in the Polanaruva district and lived at Mandatheevu. He entered journalism after studying political science at the University of Jaffna.

He was married and was the father of a six year old girl.

Colleagues held a memorial gathering for him in Toronto, Canada. The memorial has not yet taken place.




In this country
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised
19 May - Sri Lanka
Army holding three doctors who gave information to press
11 May - Sri Lanka
Three foreign journalists expelled from Sri Lanka
7 May - Sri Lanka
Parliamentarian threatens online journalists
5 May - Sri Lanka
Open letter to IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn about loan to Sri Lanka

in the annual report
Sri Lanka - Annual report 2008
Sri Lanka - Annual report 2007
Sri Lanka - Annual report 2006

reports
4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election
archives

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - China
All references to Tiananmen Square massacre closely censored for 20 years