Wife of missing journalist speaks for Sri Lanka's disappeared
Bob Dietz/CPJ Asia Program Coordinator
When I first met Sandhya Eknelygoda in May 2010 in her home outside Colombo, she was a distressed mother of two young boys whose husband had gone missing. He was last seen four months earlier, just prior to the elections that returned President Mahinda Rajapaksa to power after the end of the decades-long war with Tamil secessionists. She still has no inkling of the whereabouts of her husband Prageeth, a cartoonist and columnist for the opposition website Lanka eNews (which has since ceased to operate in Sri Lanka because of arson attacks and legal harassment of its staff, but is maintained overseas).
Over the years, Eknelygoda has emerged as a compelling spokeswoman for Sri Lanka's disappeared people. Abductions, not just of journalists, have apparently become endemic in the country. The independent Colombo-based news and opinion website Groundviews posted a report, "A disappearance every five days in post-war Sri Lanka," and the documentation to support it. (Groundviews has emerged as the most reliable and responsible web resource in Sri Lanka. Given the crackdown on online media, it is one of precious few still in existence.)