Intimidation of local journalists over NYT report condemned

The intimidation of local journalists over a recent New York Times (NYT) report drew strong criticism today.

Michael Slackman, the International Editor of the The New York Times said that it was unacceptable for journalists to be intimidated in this way.

“This action appears intended to silence critics and curb press freedoms, and ultimately deprive Sri Lankans of information in the public interest,” Slackman said.

Slackman said that a group of Sri Lankan Parliamentarians allied with the former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, held a news conference to publicly criticize two journalists who contributed logistical assistance to a rigorously reported and accurate New York Times investigation into the Hambantota port, published on June 26.

The Times said that it expects the Sri Lankan authorities to ensure the safety of journalists working for their or any news organization.

“If Mr. Rajapaksa takes issue with Times reporting, we have encouraged him to contact senior editors at The New York Times rather than intimidating Sri Lankan journalists,” The New York Times said. (Colombo Gazette)