Monday, October 19, 2009

‘Lanka’ newspaper Editor protests against CID questioning him

By Supun Dias - Chief Editor of the ‘Lanka’ newspaper Chandana Sirimalwatta, who was questioned by the CID over recent news reports, yesterday, protested against using of CID for questioning him and also called the authorities to investigate into the reports published by media instead of inquiring against the media.

In a statement Mr. Sirimalwatta said that officers from the CID came to the newspaper office on Friday and asked him to come to the CID on Saturday to record a statement. He however had informed the CID that he was unable to come during the weekend and would come to the CID on Monday the earliest.

“However, the CID officers took me without prior notice on Saturday to the CID office, where they questioned me for over three hours,” Sirimalwatta said, adding that “they questioned how I gained information to publish articles related to the so called rift between the government and General Sarath Fonseka.” I told the officers that I could not reveal any sources, he added.

Meanwhile, condemning the arrest and questioning the Editor and a reporter of the ‘Lanka’ newspaper, the country’s main five media rights groups yesterday urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa not to block the rights of the people to get information through the media.

“This was clearly another move to suppress the media freedom of the country,” a statement issued by the Sri Lanka Working Journalist Association (SLWJA), Federation of Media Employees Trade Union (FMETU), Sri Lanka Tamil Journalists Alliance (SLTJA), Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMMF) and Free Media Movement (FMM) said.

They also said that the government issued a statement on October 16 regarding various propaganda, revealing a rift between the CDS Gen. Sarath Fonseka and the government of Sri Lanka. Through that the government warned it would take legal action against such reports in the future. “This shows the government intention to cover up the government’s information from the public,” the statement said.

The Editor of the privately owned ‘Lanka’ newspaper, Chandana Sirimalwatta was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on Saturday evening over a news item regarding General Sarath Fonseka .

© Daily Mirror

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