Tamil Woman Journalist Arrested at World Press Freedom Day Conference

A female journalist arrested on suspicion at the UNESCO WPFD conference in Colombo on 1st of May 2006 was remanded by Colombo chief magistrate Kusala Weerawardana on 2th upon produced by the cinnamon garden police.

Police has told the court that the case has been handed over to the National Intelligent Service and Terrorist Investigation Division for further investigation to find out whether she has any links with terrorism/ organisations.

Sivaramya Sivanathan, a Tamil female journalist attached to state owned Sri Lanka Broadcasting Cooperation (SLBC) as a relief announcer, was questioned by the police at the entrance of the conference. When she couldn’t produce a invitation for the event she was arrested and handed over to the police despite her producing her identity card given by the SLBC. Director, Tamil services SLBC Mr. Jeevendra Kumar confirmed FMM that Ms. Sivaramaya is working under him as a relief announcer.

Free Media Movement has urged the government to look into this incident urgently and instruct the police to speed up the investigations and release Ms. Sivaramya Sivanathan if she is proved innocent.

The following is the background information issued by The Media and Communications Unit, Berghof Foundation for Conflict Studies, Colombo:

On the 1st May, a young female Tamil journalist was arrested by the Police on suspicion- ironically at the UNESCO ‘World Press Freedom Day’ Conference hosted in Colombo by the Ministry of Media and Information. The event took place at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, Colombo on 1-2 May 2006,.

The journalist Ms. Sivaramya Sivanathan (26), has been attached to the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation since 2003 as a Relief Announcer. According to her colleagues, she had gone for the inauguration of the Conference, which related to her profession, in order to do a story on the event..

Many people including women were permitted to enter the premises without being asked to produce their invitations. However Sivaramya had been asked to produce her invitation. Having failed to do so, she had been arrested by the Cinnamon Gardens police. She was remanded at the Welikada Prison to be produced in court tomorrow, 5th May 2006.

The only reason that can be attributed for the request to furnish the invitation card was that she belonged to the minority Tamil community

Ms. Sivanathan had produced her Press ID and her national identity card, but for no avail as the police was only interested in the invitation. At the time of her arrest, the Police had contacted the Tamil Services Director of SLBC who had confirmed that she was a journalist attached to SLBC but had stated that she was not been officially assigned by the organization to cover the event. .

According to Ms Krishni Kandasamy, President, Tamil Speaking Womens’ Journalists Association of Sri Lanka ,this young journalist is described as “bright and dynamic” by her colleagues,. Being a talented journalist, she was recently selected by the Independent Television Network (ITN) as a newsreader too. She is also continuing her education as an external student at the Peradeniya University.

This incident has caused much distress to her family; employer, who is doing everything he can to ensure she can resume her duties at the earliest; her colleagues and the journalists of Sri Lanka.

The Tamil Speaking Womens’ Journalists Association of Sri Lanka has strongly condemned this as an act of discrimination against women journalists of the minority community.

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  1. Next she will be a LTTE suporter like all inocent Tamils humiliated and harazed by the Govt forces

  2. The utter disregard for tamils lives are demonstrated now openly by Mahinda and his regime. Any and every tamil has become a tiger and his massive arrests and torture of tamils are a proof of this. The world is voiceless in all these genocidal attcks on tamils but are quick to show concern as a sympathy measure to the SLG against the tiger attacks or presumed attacks. What is happening in sudan by the genocidal sudanese government has been condemned by the world but the the srilankan terrorist government is getting the world support inspite of tamil genocides. Why is the world having two standards. An LTTE heavy onslaught is the expected outcome of all these happenings and these world forces will come in full force to safeguard the SLG. The only conclusion is that the IC is with the government in these genocide on tamils.

  3. If the ethnic violence ceases and sinhalese and tamils and muslims could unite into a strong united front then the speedy progress of srilanka economically,technically and internationally can pose a severe threat to India. That is why India will prefer the pot boiling all the time and will use the carrot and stick policy with both sides in srilanka’s confrontation. When the SLG does go beyond a certain limit and it would bring the major players’ attention then India jumps in to stop it and same or worse treatment as far as the LTTE is concerned. With this attitude India will not want a solution to the simmering crisis but will want the crisis to stay all the time to keep it safe from a strong united prospective srilanka. India is playing a double game to show the world it supports peace but in reality it does want the two ethnic groups to be in constant struggle to save it’s own skin.

  4. I’m not a Tamil, but I agree to a certain extent to what Chandran says.
    ID checks etc must be conducted with due regard for that person. Else, if that person is subjected to embarassment (or harassment), it would further push that person towards to LTTE.

  5. The attack on the tamil media press and persons is instigated by the president himself when he tried to say that the government is looked down upon by non supporting medias which are not government controlled. This is an indirect way of giving permission to the genocidal forces to attack the tamil media offices and personnel. When the big man of the country is encouraging his evil forces to commit crime such as kill and destroy tamil medias and journalists what do we expect the IC to remain silent in the attacks and the latest one is to Namadu Eelanaadu being encircled by the killer forces. Since there is anarchchy in the country by the genocidal government of srilanka will the IC step in to help out the tamils from certain deaths and threats. Even the parlimentarian Ponnambalam’s home was invaded and threats and insults took place. Will somebody from the IC come forth to the help of protecting the tamils or will they call the tigers to act in this situation.

  6. When will India strongly condemn the attrocities of the SLG and make them pay back for their genocide that are being committed against the tamils in srilanka. The 40 % of the tamil speaking people of srilanka are being denied their fundamental right to self-rule since it is impossible to bear the brunt of the SLG genocide and to live with them any longer. The people of tamil origins are living in fear as the communal flames are burning quick and fast under Mahinda. Mahinda will never solve the ethnic problem but instead would want to wipe out the tamils by showing his might. If not for the LTTE the tamils would have got killed in the thousands. The LTTE is the only force that is keeping them at bay. If Mahinda’s military might would surpass that of the tigers he would certainly would opt for a heavy military on-slaught against the tamils. His hidden intentions are clear from what is happening in the north and east and else where in the island. India as a strong neighbour should put pressure on the SLG to stop the genocide and if they don’t listen then put sanctions on the SLG and declare it as a terrorist state.

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