Valasingham Krishnakumar, President of Batticaloa District Tamil Journalists Union has been summoned by Sri Lanka's Counter Terrorism and Terrorism Investigation Department (CTID) for an investigation in Colombo.
Batticaloa police officers visited Krishnakumar's home today to hand over the summons letter which explains that he must go to Colombo on September 14th for questioning. This is the latest in a recent intensified crackdown on Tamil journalists in the homeland.
Last week, Selvakumar Nilanthan, a Tamil journalist and Batticaloa Press Club secretary, was also summoned to the CTID in Colombo on September 14th for an investigation into his alleged links to Thayamohan, former Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Batticaloa political head.
Journalists in Batticaloa and across the North-East have been subjected to surveillance, threats and violence for decades.
In 2020, a number of journalists from the Batticaloa district were issued death threats, with leaflets of their photographs circulated warning that they will soon be executed. The leaflets targeted a few select journalists who had held a commemoration for murdered Sinhala journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge earlier this month and circled their photographs, with a threatening message in Tamil.
Sri Lanka has dropped 19 places in Reporters Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index and is currently 146th out of 180 countries.