The Jaffna Press Club held a protest in Mullaitivu demanding press freedom following a recent assault on two Tamil Guardian correspondents while working on a story on illegal deforestation.
Kanapathipillai Kumanan and Shanmugan Thavaseelan, were working on an important story on illegal deforestation when they were set upon and attacked with iron rods. The vicious attack left them both with injuries that required hospital treatment. Both journalists had the evidence they had gathered deleted and money stolen.
Holding placards in Tamil and English, the journalists called for freedom of the press and to protect this aspect of democracy.
Both correspondents have faced threats and intimidation previously, including from the Sri Lankan security forces, for their work. Nevertheless, they have bravely persisted and refused to back down in the face of intimidation. This latest assault, however, is the most violent they have faced so far.
In addition to the protests carried out by the Jaffna Press Club, all the journalists in the Northern Province took part in protests across the North-East in their districts. Journalists also visited the Mullaitivu Forest Department’s office to express their opposition to the assault and handed over a petition demanding press freedom. The journalists handed over twigs and saplings to signify their opposition to the illegal deforestation.