The Council of the Citizens= Movement for Good Governance (CIMOGG) has, since its founding in 2002, been impressing upon the authorities, inter alia, the need to ensure media independence and freedom of expression without allowing media owners, their personnel and infrastructure to become subject to threats, duress and physical attack. Whilst those in authority claim that the many instances of grievous violence of all forms against the media do not have any official sponsorship or facilitation, they have, nevertheless, failed to carry out a single investigation with the commitment necessary to identify, arrest, prosecute and convict those responsible.
Most of the anti-media strikes have occurred after threats were received by the victims, and many complaints made to the authorities. Numerous cases of arson, assaults and killings have continued to take place with impunity, notwithstanding the fact that most of these acts were committed in areas provided with a multitude of security checkpoints, and often at times of the day when one would expect every vehicle, particularly those carrying a number of heavily armed persons, to be easily apprehended.
The lack of purposeful action by the authorities to stop the continued barrage of hits against the media by certain dark forces driven by greed and intolerance have led to the vicious perpetrators of these crimes being encouraged to the extent that they were able, without fear of interruption or exposure, to carry out a few days ago the savage, cold-blooded murder of Mr Lasantha Wickramatunge, your Chief Editor, who was, beyond question, one of the bravest and most public-spirited persons that Sri Lanka has ever seen. Every well-bred citizen feels sickened by this horrible act and wonders how many more true patriots will have to die before Sri Lanka returns to the Rule of Law, good governance and basic human decency.
However inadequate words are in these circumstances, CIMOGG conveys its heartfelt condolences to the late Mr Wickramatunge’s family and colleagues on the loss of this great son of Sri Lanka.
CIMOGG strongly supports your organisation=s firm commitment to good governance and the observance of the Rule of Law. We believe that the vast majority of citizens, though fearing to express their views openly, are with you in spirit and wish earnestly that you will acquire even more strength and the determination to continue with your efforts to safeguard media freedom and free speech as you have been doing so robustly in the past.
We fervently hope that 2009 will make more of our citizens realise that evil triumphs when the good remain silent.