Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sri Lanka loses a courageous voice

Getting a reputation as a public figure opposed to government corruption in military procurements put one at risk in a lot of countries. In some, the risk is that which comes with fighting city hall (or the Pentagon; just look at Harry Truman's Senate Committee investigations during WW II); in others, it is a quick way to end up dead. Sadly, Sri Lanka appears to be one of the later sort. The Kyodo wire service reported earlier today that Lasantha Wickramatunga, Editor of the Sunday Leader, was shot and critically wounded. Now confirmation has come in that he has died of his wounds.

This comes on the heels of an unexplained attack Tuesday on the major private TV broadcaster (a sometimes government critic) in Sri Lanka by gunmen with automatic rifles and grenades.

Reporters Without Borders had issued a statement critical of the government for encouraging violence against reporters, and Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a reporter, but...
(President Mahinda) Rajapaksa in a statement on Thursday vehemently condemned the killing and ordered an investigation into a man he called a close friend and courageous journalist.

"This heinous crime points to the grave dangers faced by ... our country, and the existence of forces that will go to the furthest extremes in using terror and criminality to damage our social fabric and bring disrepute to the country," he said.
All very true, Mister President. If it were my friend that was killed and I had your position of authority, I would not rest until his murder was brought before the courts *and real justice done*.

That would bring great repute to your Nation as well.

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