Reporters Without Borders

Galle literary festival appeal

Galle literary festival appeal

Published on Wednesday 26 January 2011.
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Reporters Without Borders and Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS), a network of exiled Sri Lankan journalists, announce the launch of an international appeal already signed by Noam Chomsky, Arundathi Roy, Ken Loach, Antony Loewenstein and Tariq Ali, asking writers and intellectuals to endorse a campaign for more freedom of expression in Sri Lanka.

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Il y a 703 signatures.

Reporters Without Borders and Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS), a network of exiled Sri Lankan journalists, announce the launch of an international appeal already signed by Noam Chomsky, Arundathi Roy, Ken Loach, Antony Loewenstein and Tariq Ali, asking writers and intellectuals to endorse a campaign for more freedom of expression in Sri Lanka.

In a few days, the family and colleagues of political cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda will be commemorating the first anniversary of his disappearance. He was kidnapped in the heavily-guarded capital, Colombo, on 24 January 2010, a few hours before the most recent presidential elections. The authorities have never given his wife any information about where he might be and the investigation is in limbo.

At the same time, writers from Asia and all over the world are planning to gather in the southern city of Galle for a literary festival co-sponsored by the country’s leading tourism promotion agencies (http://www.galleliteraryfestival.co...). Reporters Without Borders and JDS find it highly disturbing that literature is being celebrated in this manner in a land where cartoonists, journalists, writers and dissident voices are so often victimized by the current government. The signatories of this appeal ask them to consider this grave situation before deciding to go to the Galle Festival.

Full version of the Galle Appeal

We urge you who have been invited to attend the fifth Galle Literary Festival (26-30 January 2011) to consider Sri Lanka’s appalling human rights record and targeting of journalists. Reporters without Borders said this about Sri Lanka in a recent report: “Murders, physical attacks, kidnappings, threats and censorship continue in Sri Lanka despite the end of the civil war. The most senior government officials, including the defence secretary (the President’s brother), are directly implicated in serious press freedom violations affecting both Tamil and Sinhalese journalists.”

We believe this is not the right time for prominent international writers like you to give legitimacy to the Sri Lankan government’s suppression of free speech by attending a conference that does not in any way push for greater freedom of expression inside that country.

The second anniversary of journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda’s disappearance will be on 24 January 2011, just two days before the Galle Literary Festival begins. He went missing in the capital city after writing a column praising the opposition candidate in the presidential election. The police have failed to conduct a credible investigation into his disappearance. Today, because Prageeth chose to do what you do – express an opinion – his two young sons are without a father.

Another renowned journalist, Lasantha Wickremetunga, was gunned down in the capital on 8 January 2009. Although his murder took place in a high-security area where security forces personnel were manning roadblocks, his killers were allowed to escape. In a chilling editorial published posthumously, Mr. Wickremetunga said: “When I am finally killed, it will be the government who killed me.”

Fourteen journalists have been killed since 2006, three have disappeared, and more than 30 have fled the country. Journalists, writers and performers remaining in the country are constantly threatened, physically attacked or cowed by legislation under which they can be jailed them for up to 20 years simply for what they write.

The stifling of free expression has also had a negative impact on other freedoms in Sri Lanka. For instance, it was because journalists were not permitted to cover the war between the government and rebel LTTE that so many atrocities took place, including alleged war crimes. While mounting evidence of Sri Lanka’s war crimes is being shown around the world, journalists inside the country cannot talk about them or even visit the northern areas because they are afraid that they will disappear or be killed.

It is this environment that you will be legitimizing by your presence.

We ask you in the great tradition of solidarity that binds writers together everywhere, to stand with your brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka who are not allowed to speak out. We ask that by your actions you send a clear message that, unless and until the disappearance of Prageeth is investigated and there is a real improvement in the climate for free expression in Sri Lanka, you cannot celebrate writing and the arts in Galle.

Signatories

Noam Chomsky
Arundathi Roy
Ken Loach
Antony Loewenstein
Tariq Ali
Dave Rampton
R. Cheran Ashok yogan

A clarke

A DeLia

Abdu Wahid

Agni Subramaniam

Akilan

Alexandra

Amatis

Ambai

Ambroise

Ananda de Pinto

Anbarasy Singam

Andrew Kendle

Andy

Angel Freedom

Anjali Hursh

Antigone Barton

ANURUDDHA LOKUHAPUARACHCHI

Appapillai Rajendra

Arivazhagan Kaivalyam

Aru Moorthy

Arul Singam

ArulRanjithan

Arun Kaliraja

Ashok

Athavan Kanapuli

Audrey Barber

Authimoolam

B. Benham

Bala.FA

Balaji

Bee

Ben Soles

Benoît

Camille Williams

Caressa

Carol Munter

Chandru

Chayan

Chris Chivington

Christine Francis

Clare Davis

Clothilde

CoNsU

DayabThevi

Dayalan Abs

Dayan Perera

De M. O’Cracy

Donald Gnanakone

Dr Brian Senewiratne

Dr K. SUGUMAR

Dr Karan Murugavel

Dr V Balendran

Dr. A.R.M. Imtiyaz

Dr. Thani K. Cheran

Dr.A.RAMASAMY

Dr.Easwaran

DR.SHARIL

Drea Mahgreenie

Durai

Dushy Gnanapragasam

Edgar O

Edwin Prabhaakaran

Elangovan A

Eleanor Macdonald

Estella Schmid

Florence Martin

Francis

G.Chayan

Gamini Pushpakumara

Gaya

Gilton

Gitanjali Lena

Gopi Ratnam

Gowthaman Pasu

Gualtiero Badin

Hans Peter Hansen

Haren Asantha

Hari Rajaledchumy

Harsh Kapoor

Heike Winnig

Iain Atack

Ibad

Indika Udugampola

Inna Berezkina

ITHAYACHANDRAN

Janani Barathy

Jane

Janice Kew

Jay

Jayanthan Para

Jente Somers

Jeyakumar Dason

Jeykisan

Joe Nathan

Johan Romare

Johannek

John Peters

Josefina Forcadilla

Joshua Prager

Julliard

K.Kalaiselvan

Kalayini Kandiah

Kamala Gangesar

Kandiah Rajamanoharan

Kanesa

Kanna

karan

karnan

Karthik

Kathir

Kenneth Matthews

Keta Nannithamby

Ki.Pi.Aravinthan

Krishan Rajapakshe

Kristian Stokke

Kutti Revathi

Lalitha Jeyakumar

Lee Muraleedharan

Leo Mulholland

Leon

Leslie

Logan Sellathurai

Lucky

Mahesh Munasinghe

Mahindraraja

Makizhnan

Mala

Mani Kumaran

Manigandan

Marakkanam Bala

Marathamizhan K

Margaret Henry

Marisa

Mark Markai

MATHI MUGILAN PAGUTH ARIVALAN

Megavannan Murugesan

Michael Soundara

Michaela

Mithun

Mohammed Farook

Mohan

Moises Mun

Muralitharan

Muthamizh

Muthu Kumar

N.Nandhivarman

Nadarajah Paramasivan

Nadarajah Kuruparan

Nagalingam Jeyalingam

Nakkeeran

Nanthan Selvaratnam

Naragasuran

Naten Sureshkumar

Nayani Thiyagarajah

Nedunchezhian

Nehru Gunaratnam

Nirmala Nagalingam

Niroshan

P. A. Jayakaran

Packiarajan Sethuramalingam

Pan Jordan

Panneer

Paranikrishnarajani

Parimala Panchatcharam

Pasel

Paskaran

Pasquale

Perazhagan

Perumal A. Thevan

Peter Francis

Piththanmagan

Pollachi Nasan

Ponraj

Poonkundra Pandian

PoornaRamaChandran

Prakash

Prasanna

Prishika Raj

Prof.Dr. H.-Jochen Zenker

Prospero

R Prabasp

Ragu

Ragu Nathan

Raj Suthan

Raj Thayalan

Raj Vaithilingam

Raja Cholan

Rajah Sithamparam

Rajamani

Rajan

Rajani Enderby

Rajasingam a/l Singarajah

Rajendran

Rajkumar

Ramalakshmi Ramasamy

Ramanigandhan

Ramasamy Somasundaram

Ramesh

Ravi

Reid S Fernando

Richard Bawden

Riyas Qurana

Rohanta Abeysuriya

Rooban Sivarajah

Rose Rappoport Moss

Ruwandi

S Vasanthakumar

S. Sankarapandi

S. V. Kirubaharan

S.Kanagasundaram

S Velu

Saba Navalan

Sadakat Kadri

Sahayadass

Sam

Samuel

Samuthra

Sandanamullai

Sandra

Sandya Ekneligoda

Saqlain Imam

Sarah Kilbourn

Saravanan

Saruja Nanthakumaran

Sashie Peiris

Sasindran

Satish

Segaram

Selva

Senthilkumar

Senthooran

Shan Jeya

Shanmuga K

Sheela

Shobana Ratnabal

Shobasakthi

Shruti

Singam

Sivaguru

Sivakami

Sivakumar

Sivarajan

Solai Mariappan

Someetharan

Sonja Ernst

Sri Rangan Vijayaratnam

Sri Vaishnavi

Sridharan Manavalan

Stefan Candea

Steven Florence

Stuart Rees

Suba

Subashini Srinivasan

Sudhakar

Suganthan

Sugi

Sujananth Thirunavukkarasu

SUKUMARAN

Sunda

Sundaramoorthi

Suresh Nesaratnam

T.ARUL EZHILAN

Tarla Rai Peterson

Terence Fernando

Thamilan

ThamilAnnan

Thamilkanal Iraa

Thamizhandan

THANGAVELU SRINIVASA RAO

Tharani.S

Theva

Thiban G

Thirumurugan

Thomas Seibert, Sri Lanka Advocacy

Thuraisingam Subramaniam

Tom Zoellner

Tony Womack

Trevor

Uma Siva

V Ramaraj

V Ravi

V Gladvin

V.Ranjan

Vanithasan

Vasantha Raja

Vasanthakumar

Vel Velauthapillai

Venkatesan.P

Victor

Vimalkanth

Vinothan Sivanesan

Visakan Balakumar

Vishnupuramsaravanan

Viswanathan

Vithu

Vivek

Vivekanandan

VJ

Voice 4 voiceless

Yamuna Rajendran

Yo Thiruvalluvar

Yoga Rangatia

Zhang Mei

See the campaing"Where is Prageeth?"

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