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Govt. 'failed' to protect journalists

International media watchdogs have accused Sri Lanka government to protect journalists after a senior Tamil journalist has gone missing in Colombo.

Paris based Reporters Without borders (RSF) called on the authorities to take steps for the immediate release of Sooryan FM Nadarajah Gurupara.

“Guruparan's last report prior to his kidnapping, broadcast on 26 August, was about human rights violations and kidnappings in the capital. His radio station had reportedly received several threats from paramilitary organisations,” RSF statement said.

RSF has accused the government authorities as well as the Tamil Tigers of denying the right to information of their rivals.

“We call for Guruparan's immediate release as well as a real commitment from the authorities to protect journalists,” the statement said.

The Free Media Movement (FMM) in Sri Lanka said there have been newspaper reports that the government authorities had “expressed their unhappiness” over coverage by ABC media network.

Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim journalists staged a protest in the capital, Colombo, after the veteran Tamil journalist working for Sooryan FM radio station has gone missing.

Death threats

FMM said the Director news of Sooriyan FM is reported to be missing since 4am Tuesday morning.

Guruparan has left for work on Monday morning in his vehicle from his residence in Mount Lavinia.

His vehicle was found abandoned on the Galle road, after few hours.

“He has received threats from several paramilitary groups, according to close associates,” FMM said.

Sooriyn FM is a popular Tamil language channel of Colombo-based Asian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio network.

Impunity

Media watchdogs said many journalists, most of them are Tamils, are killed and threatened as violence escalated in Sri Lanka.

According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), six media workers have now been killed in Sri Lanka since January 2005. None of the crimes have been either investigated or solved.

The murdered journalists include Subramaniyam Sugirdharajan, Relangi Sevaraja, Dharmeratnam Sivaram, Suresh Kumar, Rohana kumara and Sampath Lakmal de Silva.

Media organisations have expressed concern of the delay and efficiency of investigations into these murders.