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Mullaitivu Press Club demands international action over arson attack on Tamil journalist

The Mullaitivu Press Club (MPC) has called for an international monitoring mechanism to investigate the oppression and intimidation faced by journalists, following a recent arson attack on a Tamil journalist in Jaffna. 

Earlier this month, Tamil freelance journalist Pradeepan Thambithurai was attacked by masked assailants at his home in Achchuveli, Jaffna. The assailants, arriving on motorbikes, vandalised his property, including setting fire to his motorbike and damaging a three-wheeler belonging to a relative. Leaflets were left at the scene with a message about transgender representation. 

The MPC released a statement to express their outrage over the lack of action taken by the Sri Lankan government. 

“MPC condemns the continued attacks on Tamil journalists in the strongest possible terms. It demands robust action into such threats and intimidation against journalists and urges all concerned parties and international organizations to be vigilant of such attacks and take action to put an end to them,” the press club noted. 

"Journalists being threatened, harassed and tortured merely due to their Tamil identity is indeed a deeply worrying trend," the press club wrote. 

The Press Club decried that despite the increasing number of attacks on journalists reporting from the homeland, no action has been taken by the government or law enforcement which has led to a "culture of impunity". 

For decades, Sri Lanka has intimidated, threatened and even killed journalists, particularly in the North-East for their work that has highlighted the human rights abuses faced by Tamils.  

See the full press release below: 

 

Thavaseelan reiterated that had action has been taken when these complaints were initially filed, such attacks would not have continued. “We see this as a suppression of media freedom with the support of the state.” 

In response to these attacks, the Press Club demands that an international monitoring mechanism be established to record these complaints and pressure the government to ensure an impartial investigation. 

Over 44 Tamil journalists have been kidnapped, killed, or silenced however the Sri Lankan government is yet to make any arrests. Thavaseelan says that Tamil journalists are being threatened, harassed, and tortured merely due to their Tamil identity which is a deeply worrying trend. 

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