Sri Lankan journalist’s murder will only foment more violence – UNESCO

22 August 2005

In yet another appeal for the protection of reporters, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has condemned the murder of a Sri Lankan journalist as a blow to efforts to achieve peace in the Indian Ocean island.

In yet another appeal for the protection of reporters, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has condemned the murder of a Sri Lankan journalist as a blow to efforts to achieve peace in the Indian Ocean island.

Relangi Selvarajah, a former journalist for Sri Lanka Broadcasting Cooperation (SLBC) who was working as a presenter for the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Cooperation (SLRC), and her husband were shot dead in the capital Colombo on 12 August. The gunmen remain unidentified.

“Informed public debate is essential to democracy and rule of law,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement. “Sri Lanka’s internecine conflict will only be laid to rest through open debate reflecting all shades of public opinion. Using murder to silence opinions will not secure peace in Sri Lanka, but only foment more of the violence to which it has been prey for all too long.”

The Sri Lankan Government and Tamil separatists have waged a decades-old war in the north and east of the country, in which tens of thousands of people have been killed.

Mr. Matsuura’s statement is the latest in a long series of condemnations he has issued recently over attacks on journalists around the world. UNESCO’s mandate includes the defence of freedom of expression and press freedom.

 

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