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Batticaloa journalists protest against intimidation of press in Sri Lanka

Journalists in the Eastern Province staged a demonstration in Batticaloa on Saturday, demanding that the Sri Lankan state halt the intimidation of journalists, after a newspaper photographer was manhandled and threated by a police officer outside a Colombo courthouse last week.

Sri Lankan police Inspector Neomal Rangajeewa, who is on trial with regards to a prison massacre, grabbed and threatened Akila Jayawardane in Colombo last week, drawing widespread condemnation.

Tamil and Muslim journalists took part in the demonstration on Saturday, denouncing the threats made to Jayawardane and demanding action be taken against the police inspector. Holding placards in Tamil, Sinhala and English, the reporters called for freedom of the press and for journalists to be allowed to work unheeded.

Sri Lanka is currently ranked 127th out of 180 countries and territories in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index. Dozens of largely Tamil media workers have been murdered.

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