Time for ‘holy intervention’
RT Rev Dr Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith on Saturday lent his voice to media rights campaigners. Speaking at [an] … award ceremony, he said the killings and disappearances of journalists must be probed and the perpetrators brought to justice….
On the Committee to Protect Journalists Impunity Index 2012, Sri Lanka is ranked fourth –– below Iraq, Somalia and the Philippines, in that order. None of the crimes against journalists have been solved in this country; needless to say all perpetrators have gone scot-free….
All political parties with parliamentary representation have [the] blood of journalists on their hands. They have either harmed media persons themselves or collaborated with the LTTE or been part of coalition governments responsible for such crimes. However, it is not only journalists who feel unsafe in this country…. There are millions of hapless civilians, especially women and children, who fear for their safety….
Extortionists and kidnappers are having a field day and the incidence of sexual violence is steadily on the rise. Nobody, except political potentates with security contingents at their disposal and heavily armed underworld figures, seems to be safe….
What needs to be done urgently is to combat crime, restore the rule of law and eliminate the culture of impunity which has stood politicians and their goons in good stead so that everybody including journalists will be able to live free from fear. It is only wishful thinking that the government will crack down on the netherworld of crime or rein in its murderous thugs on its own. The only way it could be jolted into action is to bring adequate pressure to bear on it….
In pressuring the government to stop trotting out lame excuses and take action to restore the rule of law, mobilising public opinion is half the battle. Probably, religious dignitaries like the cardinal will, unlike politicians and others, succeed in prevailing upon the government to address the deteriorating law and order situation and adopt remedial measures. Let them be urged very respectfully to give it a try.