On Lasantha Wickremetunge, media freedom and human rights in Sri Lanka: Interview with Dilrukshi Handunnetti

“Governments usually don’t take notice of silent majorities” says well known investigative and environmental journalism Dilrukshi Handunnetti in this video interview with Groundviews.

To commemorate Human Rights Day 2009 (falling on 10 December) Groundviews interviewed a number of leading activists in Sri Lanka to find out their perspectives on current challenges facing human rights in post-war Sri Lanka. In general, activists featured were asked to comment on the Sri Lankan State’s protection of human rights, the nexus between human rights and human dignity and opportunities for greater human rights protection over the coming years.

Dilrukshi is a lawyer by training having specialized in international law. A journalist for over 17 years, she has extensively covered the areas of politics, conflict, environment, culture, and history and gender issues.

The interview focussed on media freedom and the freedom of expression in Sri Lanka. Dilrukshi flagged the use of the reprehensible Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) post-war and against independent media through the sentencing of Tamil journalism J.S. Tissainayagam (read 100 days in hard labour and counting: The plight of J.S. Tissainayagam). The severe deterioration in media freedom and the freedom of expression since 2005 was flagged, as well as the assassination of senior journalist and Editor of the Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickremetunge. Dilrukshi more generally expressed concern over the deterioration of human rights in South Asia, and that citizens in Sri Lanka were today denied basic freedoms and rights enshrined in the constitution with complete impunity.

Also see our other compelling videos in this series:

  • sam d

    media freedom does not mean you write anything and everything regardless of its consequences to SL and it national security.during last few months their were rally organised by BNP and english defence leauge almost every weekend yet in UK and see how little coverage thouse nationalist parties got in mainstreem media.same with 9/11 bash a muslim incidents and little coverage thouse incidents received.why bcos incidents like thouse will promote racial dishamony.only in SL people use so called media freedom for personal gains at the expence of national security & social harmony [edited out – please refrain from personal attacks] so yes their should be some controls over media freedom if the papers and tv stations refuse to put the country social harmony and national security first.

  • veera

    Dilrukshi,You complain about almost everything on earth. Sorry, nobody can please people like you.

  • Was

    Freedom, whether media, right to express or any other come strings attached. ‘RESPONSIBILITY’ Our media personnel who often think and act like above any law or tradition is a shame to the profession. You are not a journalist. [Edited out: Please refrain from personal attacks. Read our guidelines for commenting]