[QODLink]
Listening Post

Frederica Jansz: Sri Lanka's media crackdown

After years of threats, what made one of Sri Lanka's boldest journalists leave her home country?

Last updated: 15 Jan 2013 14:41
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

For this Listening Post feature, we interview one journalist who has recently fled her country, Sri Lanka. Over the past few years freedom of the press has been under attack by the government there. One newspaper in particular has been in the governmental crosshairs, the Sunday Leader.

When the Sunday Leader’s editor Lasantha Wickramatunga was gunned down in 2009, he saw it coming. We know that because he wrote an editorial on his own death, published posthumously in his paper, in which he blamed his killing on the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka's president.

In the article, he predicted that no one would ever be charged with the murder. No one was. Wickramatunga's successor, Frederica Jansz, had her own run-ins with the government, including an extraordinary clash with the president's brother, Sri Lanka's defence minister.

Jansz says that the minister threatened her over the phone and said there were a lot of people who wanted to see her killed. She then published a transcript of the call. A few months later the Sunday Leader had brand new owners with close ties to the government and Frederica Jansz says she was fired. She has since fled the country and has made an asylum claim. Jansz says she does not want her location revealed for security reasons. She spoke to the Listening Post’s Meenakshi Ravi.

"It was definitely a slow and steady slide into a stifling reporting that the government does not like. Since the end of the war in May 2009, there has been a very definite slide, a very definite take over, or state control, of all media outlets, and that includes independently, or privately owned media. The Sunday Leader actually is a classic example of what happened.

The level of intimidation, the harassment has continued, they have continued to call journalists traitors. Lawyers appearing for me, and the Sunday Leader, were termed, or called terrorists and traitors.

And you know, in the back drop of all that had happened to me .... I was told, and I actually began to finally believe it, that my life was very seriously under threat. So yes, I made up my mind, I have young children, that my sons need a mum and not a heroine."

Frederica Jansz

392

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.
join our mailing list