The Alliance of Media Organizations, spearheaded by the Free Media Movement, has earmarked January 25, as Black January Day on account of the numerous attacks against the media unleashed by the government in the past three years, especially in the month of January, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said.
These include the murder of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickramatunga, the fire bomb attack on Sirasa/MTV studios and the attack on Rivira editor Upali Tennakoon in 2009, the disappearance of Prageeth Eknelygoda, the sealing of Lanka newspapers and the detention of its editor in 2010, and the arson attack on Lanka eNews office in 2011.
January 24 marks the second anniversary of the disappearance of Prageeth Eknelygoda, a cartoonist and columnist for the pro-opposition Lanka eNews website.
Eknelygoda’s wife, Sandhya, and two sons have gotten no word from any official body of the Sri Lankan government, from the lowest police desk to the highest levels of the ministry of justice, about what happened to the journalist, CPJ said.
On January 25, 2011, Sandhya Eknelygoda submitted a petition calling on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other U.N. officials to encourage the Sri Lankan government to investigate the disappearance of her husband. The request to the U.N. has been unmet.
In March 2011, CPJ and four other groups sent a letter to Ban asking him to direct the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNESCO, which oversees press freedom, to look into the case of Eknelygoda. There has been no meaningful response from the United Nations. Sandhya Eknelygoda’s personal appeal to the president’s wife, Shiranthi Rajapaksa, has also gone unanswered.