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Sri Lanka 11 May 2009

Three foreign journalists expelled from Sri Lanka

Channel 4’s Asian correspondent Nick Paton-Walsh, producer Bessie Du, and cameraman Matt Jasper were briefly detained by police in Trincomalee in the east of the country before their expulsion. They are now in Bangkok with their journalist visas cancelled and banned from further visits to Sri Lanka.

The report broadcast on 5 May showed both the atrocious living conditions for civilians and ill-treatment they have suffered. ITN News, which produces news for Channel 4, said the report was the first independent proof of the gravity of the plight of civilians in displacement camps in an area in which access is tightly controlled. It showed bodies left lying in the open and revealed a shortage of food and water and cases of sexual abuse.

The expulsions are the latest incident in a long list of serious press freedom violations connected with reporting of the war, including murders of journalists, arbitrary or abusive imprisonment, torture, ill-treatment, censorship and expulsions.

“Reporters Without Borders considers the decision to expel these journalists was unfounded and unacceptable. Freedom of the press and of investigation is all the more vital when the situation is far from clear in the combat zone and surrounding areas. We ask that these journalists should be authorised to continue their investigation in complete independence” said Jean-François Julliard, secretary General of the world wide press freedom organisation.




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Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised
19 May - Sri Lanka
Army holding three doctors who gave information to press
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
24 April - Sri Lanka
Reporters Without Borders welcomes release of N. Vithyatharan

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

reports
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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
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Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
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2 June - China
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2 June - China
All references to Tiananmen Square massacre closely censored for 20 years