Obama expresses concern for Tissainayagam in Sri Lanka's jail
Sri Lanka is ranked at the lowest level for press freedom for a democratic country, by the Reporters Without Borders.
Obama expresses concern for Tissainayagam
In a statement issued by the White House in honor of World Press Freedom Day, President Barack Obama expressed his concern for Sunday Times Journalist J.S Tissainayagam and said his case was "emblematic of the hundreds of journalists who face intimidation, censorship, and arbitrary arrest." Tissainayagam and journalists like him are "guilty of nothing more than a passion for truth and a tenacious belief that a free society depends on an informed citizenry," said President Obama in his statement.
Journalist Tissainayagam was detained on March 7, 2008 when he went to the Sri Lanka's Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) to look for his colleagues Jasikaran and Valarmathy. He was detained for almost six months without charges.
On August 25th he was charged with writing to incite ethnic disharmony. His trial in the High Court continues on May 6th.
Statement by the President in honor of World Press Freedom Day:
" Adding to this tragic figure are the hundreds more each year who face intimidation, censorship, and arbitrary arrest - guilty of nothing more than a passion for truth and a tenacious belief that a free society depends on an informed citizenry. In every corner of the globe, there are journalists in jail or being actively harassed: from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, Burma to Uzbekistan, Cuba to Eritrea. Emblematic examples of this distressing reality are figures like J.S. Tissainayagam in Sri Lanka, or Shi Tao and Hu Jia in China. We are also especially concerned about the citizens from our own country currently under detention abroad: individuals such as Roxana Saberi in Iran, and Euna Lee and Laura Ling in North Korea."