Reporters Without Borders

Editor of TamilNet murdered in Colombo

Editor of TamilNet murdered in Colombo

Published on Friday 29 April 2005.
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Reporters Without Borders said it was "revolted" by the murder on 29 April of Dharmeratnam Sivaram who was found dead in the capital after being abducted there the previous evening. One of the best known Tamil journalists, he knew he was in danger because of his uncompromising coverage of the political and military situation.

Reporters Without Borders is revolted at the murder of Dharmeratnam Sivaram "Taraki", editor of the news website TamilNet and Daily Mirror columnist. Four men abducted the well known journalist on 28 April and he was found dead the following morning.

Sivaram, 46, had often told friends that he feared for his safety. "My life is in serious danger," he told Reporters Without Borders in May 2004 after police raided his house and some pro-government media accused him of being a spy for the Tamil Tigers.

He was targeted because of uncompromising coverage of the political and military situation, particularly since the emergence of the pro-government Tamil militia headed by Colonel Karuna.

Reporters Without Borders said Sri Lanka’s authorities were guilty of failing to combat impunity in past cases of murders of journalists. In several reports, it had shown that the government, headed by Chandrika Kumaratunga, has protected killers of journalists, particularly Tamil militia of the EPDP, elements in the presidential guard and members of Col. Karuna’s Tamil militia.

The organisation called on the government to now do everything possible to ensure the killers and those who sent them were identified, arrested and put on trial.

"The premeditated murder of one of the most renowned Tamil journalists is a huge loss for Sri Lanka’s press. Through his website that was visited by tens of thousands of people daily, he provided essential news on the situation in the country," it said.

"Whatever one may think of his relations with the Tamil Tigers movement, Sivaram, was a brilliant journalist", the worldwide press freedom organisation added.

Four men travelling in a Pajero abducted Sivaram late in the evening on 28 April as he was leaving a Colombo bar with friends, just a few metres from the Bambalapitya police station. Witnesses said the men were speaking Tamil.

His body was found the following morning in the Himbulala district, near the parliament building. Sivaram had been killed by several bullet wounds to the head and he bore the marks of a beating. His wife, Herly Yogaranjini, identified his body which will be taken to his native town of Baticaloa for burial. He had three children aged 10 to 16 years.

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