JOURNALIST SHOT DEAD
At the time of her death, Selvarajah was a part-time television presenter for the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC). Previously, she worked as a journalist for the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), where she produced a radio programme called "Uthaya Darisanam" that often criticised the LTTE, says RSF.
According to FMM, the attack appears to be part of an ongoing killing spree carried out by
rival Tamil groups. Selvarajah and her husband were closely associated with the Peoples Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), a political party that opposes the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). PLOTE has often been accused by the LTTE of being a government-funded militia. PLOTE claims that dozens of its members have been killed by the LTTE despite a ceasefire agreement signed between LTTE and the government in 2000.
The murders of Selvarajah and her husband occurred on the same day that Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, was assassinated in his home in Colombo, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency in the country. Kadirgamar was a vocal opponent of the LTTE's mission to create a separate Tamil state and was instrumental in getting the militant group banned in several countries, including the United Kingdom and the U.S., reports the BBC.
Since 2004, an increasing number of journalists in Sri Lanka have been killed as a result of the ongoing conflict between LTTE rebels and the Sri Lankan government. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), four have been killed in retaliation for their work, including Dharmeratnam Sivaram, a prominent Tamil journalist and columnist who was known for his sympathetic views of the LTTE (http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=14102).
Human Rights Watch notes that political killings in Sri Lanka have escalated since April 2005 to a reported rate of one a day.
Visit these links:
- FMM Alert: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/68652/
- Human Rights Watch: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/08/15/slanka11630.htm
- Committee to Protect Journalists on Sri Lanka: http://www.cpj.org/attacks04/asia04/sri.html
- International Press Institute: http://www.freemedia.at/wpfr/Asia/srilanka.htm
- IFJ Handbook on Conflict Reporting in Sri Lanka: http://www.ifj-asia.org/files/conflict_lr.pdf
- RSF Recommendations for Improving Press Freedom: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=10956
- Q and A on the Sri Lanka Conflict: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/2405347.stm
- Sri Lankan Peace Process in Deep Crisis: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4147766.stm
- Sri Lanka Media Watch: http://www.lankawatch.com/