Saturday, May 24, 2008

Another one bites the dust

(Pic. courtesy : Daily Mirror)

Just a day had passed after the voting on the Human Rights council and yet another journalist was abducted and badly beaten up. It seems that media freedom in this country is at its lowest ebb at least since the 80's and the early 90's.

For some reason Sri Lanka seems to be back pedaling quite rapidly towards the dark media oppressed days of the late 80's and early 90's. According to the Daily Mirror, Associate Editor and Defence Analyst of "The Nation" Keith Neyehr was abducted late on Thursday night. His car was found abandoned opposite the gate of his Waidya Road residence in Dehiwala.

Calls to his mobile phone, which was nowhere to be seen went unanswered.

However intervention by “top officials” of the government saw an intense probe being launched to locate the whereabouts of Mr. Noyhar who is also a defence analyst for The Nation.

Police later traced the location from where his mobile phone signal was emanating and deployed a special team to the area.

But some six to seven hours after his abduction, while police were on their way to trace the mobile phone signal, Mr. Noyhar returned home with his face swelled up and blood pouring from his mouth, nose and ears, but fortunately still conscious.

A rather strange turn of events obviously Keith's friends in the government had got the police to track down his mobile phone, but then again in a city the size of Colombo that measures at most 10 or 15 kms across does it take six to seven hours to trace a phone call?

From what I know once the relevant mobile telecommunications company is alerted they can trace the phone call to with in a radius of 1 km or less of its actual location, within minutes.

Were the perpetrators alerted of an incoming police squad? Once again this is pure speculation but if one is to examine the facts it would be the only logical conclusion that one can arrive at.

Why would the government want to abduct Keith? As a defense analyst at Nation he was critical of the government's war effort, particularly of using it for political purposes. Harassment of defence analysts is nothing new in Sri Lanka, can anyone say Iqbal Athas?

Though I deeply resent the foreign media's labeling of our Defense Secretary as hawkish; at times one is forced to admit that the fellow is indeed hawkish. I doubt he would have made his "unpatriotic" and "censorship" statements in his adopted country - the USA (the land of the free blah blah blah.)

For some reason he seems to think that because we are a third world country we should agree with anything that comes out of his, as if it were the proclamation of a divine god!
It seems that NGO's , INGO's and humanitarians aren't the only ones that seems to think they are above the law in this country.

Word of advice for Gota.... If you want a censorship, draft a parliamentary act, get it passed in parliament and then enforce.... don;t; go around abducting and harassing innocent journalists!
(Pic. courtesy : The Island)

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