Sri Lankan police said on today they suspected a missing ethnic Tamil radio station producer had been abducted, prompting new fears over press safety with at least five media workers killed so far this year. Assistant news manager Nadarajah Kuruparan, 36, worked for a Tamil language radio station. He was last seen leaving his house early this morning. His abandoned car was found shortly after on a side street in the capital. ”We suspect he must have been abducted - this looks like an kidnapping,” said police Deputy Inspector General Pujitha Jayasundara, although he said he did not know who was behind it.
There have been frequent journalist killings during the course of Sri Lanka’s two-decade civil war, particularly of minority Tamil writers and broadcasters who are either seen to back Tamil Tiger rebels or who have angered them. Kuruparan’s station, Sooryan, is part of a larger media group and is not seen to take sides. Of the five media workers killed this year, four were Tamils. Rights groups say the government has done practically nothing to investigate the killings.
The Free Media Movement (FMM) said there seemed to be a deliberate attempt to intimidate Tamil journalists and publications. ”If this situation is going to continue, I don’t think any independent Tamil journalism will remain in this country,” said FMM’s Sunanda Deshapriya. “(But) right now what we are asking for is abductors to release him and not to harm him.”