Newspaper Society condemns
The Newspaper Society while condemning the recent
restrictions on Tamil newspapers in the East by armed groups, expressed
disapproval on the seizure of 20,000 copies of the Virakesari and
their subsequent burning.
The Society, stressed that burning of newspapers
was a ‘stark reminder of how easily one jackboot could replace
another’. It stated that the right to information and the
availability of diverse opinions were a fundamental tenet of democracy
and an inherent right of all those who lived in a free society.
“Any Government wedded to democracy which
allows such acts to be committed with impunity, imperils its own
image,” the letter stated.
It added that the statement issued by the Presidential
Secretariat earlier this week, reiterated, inter alia, that the
President and the Government were committed to ensuring the freedom
and safety of the media in Sri Lanka.
“The Virakesari group is a member of the
Newspaper Society. The escalating violence against the media, we
feel, now merits the personal concern of the President.”
A government statement said that President Mahinda
Rajapaksa had ordered an immediate investigation into the incident.
“These attacks on the media have been perpetrated
by terrorist groups and interested parties outside the democratic
mainstream,” the statement said.