Sri Lankan police have arrested a journalist named Tharindu Uduwaragedara without any charges and kept him in illegal detention, according to local media reports. Uduwaragedara is a reporter for the online news portal Lanka E News, which is known for its critical coverage of the government and the military.
Journalists’ associations and human rights groups have condemned the arrest and demanded his immediate release. They have also staged a protest outside the Borella Police station, where Uduwaragedara is being held. They claim that the arrest is a violation of his fundamental rights and an attempt to silence independent media.
Press freedom in Sri Lanka is guaranteed by the constitution but has been severely undermined by various laws, regulations, and violence against journalists. Sri Lanka ranks low in the global press freedom index and has been criticized by international organizations for its repression of independent media. Journalists who report on sensitive issues such as human rights, corruption, and the civil war have faced threats, intimidation, attacks, and even murder.
Many journalists have fled the country or gone into hiding. The current government led by the Rajapaksas has been accused of consolidating power and silencing dissent. The recent approval of the 20th Amendment Act gives the president more authority to appoint judges and police officers, which could further jeopardize the independence and impartiality of investigations into violations of press freedom.
Sri Lanka is a country where human rights abuses are at their peak, according to international watchdogs. The government has been accused of cracking down on dissent, intimidating journalists, and restricting freedom of expression. The UN Human Rights Council has recently adopted a resolution that calls for accountability and justice for the victims of the civil war that ended in 2009.