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Home  >Tamils - a Trans State Nation > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Indictment against Sri Lanka > Censorship, Disinformation & Murder of Journalists  Tamil Journalists and Media Workers Killed in Sri Lanka 1999 - 2008

Censorship, Disinformation & Murder of Journalists

Journalists and Media Workers Killed in Sri Lanka 1999 - 2008

Tamil Creative Writers Association,
Canada, 1 June  2008

(1)   On September 10, 1999 Rohana Kumara, the chief editor of the newspaper Satana, was killed by multiple assailants while driving to his home in Colombo. Kumara's newspaper had developed a reputation for controversy and exposing government corruption.

(2)    On November 9, 1999 Atputharajah Nadarajah, the chief editor of Thinamurasu, was gunned down on the morning of by an unidentified gunman. Thinamuasu, his weekly newspaper, openly supported Tamil nationalism and the Tamil Tigers. As well as being a prominent journalist, Nadarajah was a member of parliament for the Jaffna district for the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP). The EPDP is a member of the ruling People's Alliance Coalition.

(3)  On 19th October 2000, Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, aged 38, well-known journalist and father of three, was shot dead in his own home, through the window of his room, as he wrote a news report. He was the Jaffna correspondent for the Tamil daily Virakesari, the independent Tamil radio station, Sooriyan FM, the popular Sinhala political weekly, Ravaya, the Tamil and Sinhala services of the BBC. He was also the Secretary of the Northern Journalists' Association.

(4)  On 31 May 2004, Mr. Aiyathurai Nadesan was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on a motorbike, while traveling on a motorcycle himself. The Batticaloa police launched an investigation into the killing. However, no suspect has ever been taken to court. Mr. Nadesan (48) was a renowned journalist who was very critical of the Sri Lanka Army and paramilitary groups in his widely read political column in the Sunday edition of the Virakesari.

(5)    On April 29, 2005 "Taraki" Dharmaretnam Sivaram  (47), male, editorial board member of TamilNet / around 10:30pm/ abducted by 4 men in a white van under the very nose of the  Bambalapitiya police station in Colombo. Two and a half hours later his body was found on the city�s outskirts, about 500 metres from the country�s parliamentary precincts in Sri Jayawardenepura within a high security zone. The dastardly murder was clearly politically motivated.  Forensic expert Jeanne Perera, who conducted the post-mortem, reported that Sivaram had been hit on the back of the head and shoulders and shot at pointblank range.  Sivaram was not only a journalist, but also a political columnist for the Daily Mirror and a founding member and contributor to the Tamilnet news website. Renowned. journalist. of. international repute, Sivaram was also a sympathizer of Tamil nationalism and because of his writings  supportive of the LTTE he was considered a spy and an enemy, both of the State and of the LTTE breakaway group, the Karuna faction.

(6)    On 29 July, 2005 Arasakumar Kannamuthu (38), male, a newspaper delivery agent for the Batticaloa Eelanatham newspaper shot and killed by unidentified gunmen at Matupola in Kalmunai-Akkaraipattu Road, 50 kilometers south of Batticaloa.

(7)     On August 12, 2005 Tamil broadcaster Relangi Selvarajah and her husband, a political activist, were killed by unidentified gunmen in Colombo on the same day that Lakshman Kadirgamar, Sri Lanka's foreign minister, was assassinated.

(8)  On August 29, 2005. David Selvaratnam (50), a security guard,  Manickam Kamalanathan (49), a proof-reader, Subramaniyam Suthas (29), a computer operator, A.M.F Anas, a visiting employee, all are male / around 6:15pm. / severely injured by unidentified attackers throwing two grenades into the printing office of Tamil-language daily Sudar Oli, Madampitiya Road at Grandpass in Colombo.

(8)   On September 30, 2005 Yogakumar Krishnapillai (38), male, a distributor of the Batticaloa-Eelanatham newspaper / around 7:30am / shot and killed by two unidentified gunmen in Batticaloa.

(09)    On 24 January,  2006  35-year old Subramaniam Sugirtharajan, a father of two and a correspondent for "Sudar Oli," a Tamil-language was shot and killed at his residence  located along the Lower Road facing the Trincomalee harbour in the suburb of Orr's Hill in Trincomalee He was waiting for transport to his workplace.

(10)    On May 02, 2006. a gang of five men armed with T-56 automatic rifles entered the Uthayan office at about 7.25 p.m. and began firing. Marketing manager Bastian George Sagayathas, 36, also known as Suresh, was first killed. Circulation supervisor S. Ranjith, 25, was killed when he raised his head to see what was happening to Uthayakumar. He was held down and shot dead   as journalists gathered in Colombo to celebrate Press Freedom Day this year.

(12)      On July 2, 2006 freelance journalist Sampath Lakmal de Silva was shot dead by an unknown group.

(13)      On July 27, 2006 Mariathas Manojanraj, 23, a distributor of Yarl Thinakural and Veerakesari, was killed in a claymore explosion on Rasa Road, near Nilavarai Deep well on his way from Atchuvely to Jaffna.  Manojanraj was riding a motorbike to collect Thursday issues of the papers from the Jaffna Thinakkural office for distribution in Atchuvely when the explosion occurred, sources said. The claymore mine was triggered by remote-control device and occurred in an isolated area in Navakeeri close to the Ellalan Community Center, sources said.

(14)     On August 15, 2006   Sathasivam Baskaram Driver/Distributor Uthayan Newspaper in Jaffna was shot and killed.

(15)      On August 21, 2006. Sinnathamby Sivamaharajah (68), male, managing director of Tamil-language daily "Namathu Eelanadu, chairman of the Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society (MPCS) in Tellippalai, Jaffna, former member of parliament for the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) / around 7:20pm/ shot and killed at temporary residence in Tellippalai, 14 kilometers northeast of Jaffna.

(16)     On February 27, 2007 S. T. Gananathan (64), a journalist, was shot dead in Jaffna.  

(17)     On April 16, 2007 Subash Chandrabose, 32, editor of the Tamil monthly Nilam, was gunned down late Monday at his residence in  Thirunavatkulam in  Vavuniya, 260 kilometres north of Colombo, the rights group said. Chandrabose also freelanced for other publications including the London-based magazine Tamil World and  The FMM.  Rights activists said it was 'appalled by the killing.'

(18)    On April 29, 2007 Selvarajah Rajivarman (25), male, journalist of Jaffna's 'Uthayan' newspaper / around 10 am/  shot and killed by gunmen riding on a motorbike at Naavalar Road, Raasaavin Thoaddam junction in Jaffna.

(19)      On  August 01,  2007  Nilakshan Sahapavan, a 22-year-old student at the Jaffna University Media Research and Training Centre and the editor of Calare, was killed by unidentified gunmen.  The Free Media Movement says Sahapavan was the eighth journalist killed in Jaffna since May 2006. The Sri Lankan media group expressed disappointment that authorities have not prosecuted anyone for these killings.

(20)     On May 28, 2008 Shakti TV and Sirasa TV Jaffna correspondent P.Devakumaran (36) were  hacked to death by an unidentified gang at Navanthurai in the Jaffna peninsula.  The 36-year-old victim was reportedly returning home on his motorcycle with his  friend Mahendran Varadhan who was a computer technician. He too was killed. A resident of Kokkuththoduwai, he had joined the Maharajah Group in 2005 as the Jaffna correspondent of the three news channels. According to media rights organisations he is the ninth journalist killed since 2006 and probably the last active journalist in the Jaffna peninsula.




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