Thursday, September 03, 2009

Three journalists arrested by police

Three journalists of ‘Lanka Irida’ Sinhalese weekend newspaper who had gone for a media coverage to Deniyaya in Matara have been arrested by police say reports reaching us. The three journalists arrested by the police are Shalike Wimalasena, Ravindra Pushpakumara and Daya Tennekone.

When ‘Lankatruth’ inquired from Deniyaya Police, the officers there said no journalists have been arrested. However, Chief Editor of ‘Lanka Irida’ Chandana Sirimalwatta said when he inquired from Deniyaya Police regarding his journalists the police had said the three journalists were being detained and being questioned for trespassing on a Tamil Estate. When Mr. Sirimalwatta asked what crime the journalists had committed by entering a ‘Tamil Estate’ the police had said they were being questioned for unlawfully entering someone’s else’s property. However, Mr. Sirimalwatta told ‘Lankatruth’ that the three journalists had been arrested while walking on the road.

The excuse given by the police for arresting and detaining the three journalists has created concern regarding the safety of the three journalists. When police arrested two youths from Angulana the parents of the youths had been told that evening that the youths were arrested. However, next morning police had told the parents the youths were not arrested. Next the youths were found dead and the police is accused of the killing.

In this incident too police had told the Chief Editor of ‘Lanka Irida’ that the journalists were arrested but all media has been told that no journalist was arrested.

When ‘Lanaktruth’ wanted to find out details of the incident and tried to contact the police media spokesman the female officer who answered the phone said the media spokesman was not in his office. When we asked for a mobile phone number of the police spokesman she gave us a number and when we tried to contact him on the given number we found that it was a number that is not in use. When we told the female officer that the number was not in use and we were unable to contact the police media spokesman she said, “That’s the number. There is no other number to give you.”


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