Journalists are now being called ‘Paper Tigers’ and, given the current climate, it’s OK to kill them with impunity. To quote the Daily Mirror, “The government warned yesterday the LTTE members were now attempting to infiltrate the South under the guise of being journalists.” So if you have a media card you might as well flash a Tamil Eelam ID. Note that no one has been convicted nor any case filed. This is completely above (or accurately, below) the rule of law. It would be comic were it not so deadly serious. Journalists are being killed and assaulted on an almost weekly basis. The governments words now are deeply irresponsible and almost assault in themselves – basically incitement to violence. The government has said it, Mervyn Silva has done it in public and everyone has gotten away with it. It’s open season on journalists.
Basically, it’s OK to kill and assault journalists. They’re probably LTTE in disguise. To quote the Defence Secretary: “No, No. I am not doing it. I am definitely not threatening your lives. I am not. It will happen from where it happens. Our services are appreciated by 99 per cent of the people. They love the Army Commander (Lt. Gen. Fonseka) and the Army. Those who love us do what is required. We cannot help that.” To quote Minister Champika Ranawaka of the JHU, “People will die, What can we do about it. Are you asking us the leave those alive? those bastards are traitors. We can’t do any thing because of wild donkey freedom in this country, if those can’t be dealt with existing laws we know how to do it. If we can’t suppress those bastards with the law we need to use any other ways and means.”
And just view the unpunished actions of Mervyn Silva – assaulting the Director of Rupavahini and getting thrashed by their staff. Then, however, the staff that defended their station were assaulted and stabbed in the bus. No one was caught. He then trashed a Sirasa camera, on camera and got off with a fine. That was the example set, and the government did nothing, because it was in line with what they’ve been saying.
Then, more seriously, Sirasa was burned, as the Sunday Leader was just a year ago. Then Lasantha, the editor of the Sunday Leader, was shot dead in the streets. Today the editor of Rivira was stabbed.
And no one has ever been caught, in all of these cases. And these are just the ones I remember off the top of my head. As stated in Parliament, nine journalists have been killed and 27 assaulted since 2006.
The government says this as an aberration and appoints committees, but it’s not. This is policy. They are calling journalists ‘paper tigers’ now, equating them with terrorists. And, of course, terrorists deserve to die. To quote Gotabaya Rajapakse ‘Those who love us do what is required. We cannot help that.’
Hunting season is open.