Police accused of repeatedly harassing Batticaloa journalist

Police in Batticaloa should stop harassing journalist Punniyamoorthy Sasikaran and let him work without interference, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

On August 23, officers from the Batticaloa police superintendent’s Special Crime Branch interrogated Sasikaren, a freelance Tamil journalist who is also the treasurer of the Batticaloa District Tamil Journalists Union, at a police station, according to news reports and the journalist, who communicated with CPJ by messaging app.

The officers accused Sasikaren of organizing a ceremony in January that paid tribute to Indian fishermen who died at sea in 2020, which he said he merely covered as a journalist, he told CPJ. Authorities released him after about two hours, he said.

CPJ emailed U.P.A.D.K.P. Karunanayake, the Deputy Dnspector-General of the Batticaloa District police, for comment and to determine if Sasikaren had been formally charged with a crime, but did not receive any reply.

“It’s time for Sri Lanka’s police to call off their repeated harassing interrogations of journalist Punniyamoorthy Sasikaran and allow him to go about his work without interference,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Police should not be using intimidation tactics to prevent journalist from covering protests by Sri Lanka’s Tamil community, or any others.”

Police have repeatedly interrogated Sasikaren over his alleged planning of that January event, as well as a February 3 to 7 protest calling on the government to resolve issues facing Tamils, as CPJ has documented.

In July, officers with the Terrorism Investigation Division also interrogated Selvakumar Nilanthan, a freelance Tamil journalist and secretary of the Batticoloa District Tamil Journalists Association, as CPJ documented at the time. (Colombo Gazette)

4 COMMENTS

  1. Why ask the police for an explanation as to the harassment ? Ask the minister for the reason and then pursue him relentlessly until an explanation is provided, and the harassment stops.

    • Gabriella you would not talk about Julian Assange’s imprisonment in the UK. And would not ask the UK people to push the minister relentlessly until Julian Assange is released. You are a faceless asshole.

      • Are you a surgeon ? You have moved my face to my asshole. I should sue you for a botched surgery.

        As for Julian Assangae, his exposure of top secret US files (documents), got a lot of US overseas operatives killed. Whilst, I would never advocate censorship or the people’s “right to know”, a journalist (which he is not) must be prudent and responsible in his exercise of free speech.

        Julian Assanges’ only interest was self-aggrandisement and, had very little to do with the expression of free speech. In fact, any other government subjected to so much mindless damage would have exterminated Assange by now.

  2. How likely this fools ‘journalists’ ever writing a sentence about Julian Assange, Edward Snowden or about my struggles as a writer in Australia? Shame for the 21st century humanity.

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