The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) criticised what it described as "lots of talk but little progress in Sri Lanka over journalist murders' as the government commenced its 4th year in power.
"Impunity for crimes against journalists remains a front-line issue in Sri Lanka; indeed, ending impunity was a promise of the government of President Maithripala Sirisena when he defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa in elections in 2015," CPJ's Asia program coordinator, Steven Butler wrote.
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"Skepticism runs deep for other reasons. Of the 10 journalists murdered for their work, all but one--Wickramatunga--are Tamils, the minority ethnic group whose Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organization engaged in the long, bloody secessionist war, until its defeat in 2009. As R. Bharati, president of the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance, pointed out to me, in a tone of resignation, none of the arrests so far have advanced justice for murdered Tamil journalists. V. Premnath, editor of the Tamil daily Uthayan, added, "Even after 2015, we are facing so much intimidation and harassment by state authorities, the military and police."
Aside from the smattering of arrests, only one conviction related to an attack in which a journalist was killed has been secured: in 2014 authorities convicted a LTTE leader of conspiring and abetting a 2008 suicide bombing at a political event that killed at least 27 people, including reporter Rashmi Mohamed.
"The culture of impunity is part of our psyche," said Deepika Udagama, chair of Sri Lanka's Human Rights Commission. "Even the public has gotten used to this idea of selective justice."