Media Rights Groups Silent On Assault Of ‘Kalai Kathir’ Tamil Journalist

Although there are a dozen or so organizations that have mandated themselves to advocate and fight for freedom of expression, media rights and the safety of media personnel, only the Tamil Media Alliance has expressed outrage at the assault of Kalai Kathir journalist Selvarasa Rajendran in the early hours of Monday (28th)

Rajendran was assaulted by a gang of ten near the Jaffna Bus Stand and is currently in hospital obtaining treatment for injuries sustained during the attack.

The Tamil Media Alliance has issued a statement in Tamil expressing shock at the assault at urging relevant government authorities to act swiftly to investigate and bring the assailants before the law.

Rajendran, who is also in charge of circulation at night, had taken on the distribution job since the regular delivery boy had been absent. Between 3.30 and 3.45 am 10 masked persons had arrived in five motorcycles, accosted him near the Jaffna bus stand and attacked him with swords and knives. He was severely injured and his bicycle was also damaged.

Nadesapillai Vithyatharan, Editor of Kalai Kathir, a newspaper that was launched in 2016, told Colombo Telegraph that it is shocking that this attack took place just hours after the Prime Minister visited Jaffna.

‘They were wearing masks and came in motorcycle with covered number plates, so CCTV cameras would not be of any help in tracing the assailants.’

Kalai Kathir has published several features of late exposing criminal activity in Jaffna, including illicit sand mining.

‘My suspicion is that all this is happening with the connivance of high-ups and the boldness of this assault makes one wonder if authorities are in the know and have chosen to look the other way,’ Vithyatharan said.

Vithyatharan is the former editor of ‘Uthayan’ a newspaper whose offices and personnel were attacked many times when the previous government was in power. (By Malinda Seneviratne)