Sagala directs Police to give priority to probes on attacks against media

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said yesterday that he had instructed the Police to give priority to investigations into attacks against media.

The Minister made this revelation while engaging with a panel discussion at an international event on ending impunity on crimes against journalists in Colombo, on Monday.(04)

“We have come a long way,” the Minister said, adding that some investigations into attacks on media had to be commenced under the most difficult circumstances.

“There were instances when the evidence was destroyed. Some investigations had to be started many years after the incidents. But, the Police were able to make significant progress in some of the critical cases,” the Minister explained.

“Some of these cases, for instance the Prageeth Eknaligoda, have underscored the need for new laws and regulations. Measures were underway to change the legal framework allowing the law enforcement authorities to indict a criminal for murder, in the absence of the dead body of the victim. Such provisions will pave way for important developments as far as the investigations are concerned,” he added.

Addressing the same event, Editor of the Udayan newspaper Devanayagam Premananda said he had been kept in the dark about follow-up action on attacks against his newspaper.

He said the Jaffna-based newspaper and its staff members had come under attack 37 times in the recent past, under the previous administration.

At this point, the Law and Order Minister immediately responded to the journalist’s request and obtained a dossier from him, which had information about attacks against the newspaper office and its staff.

The Minister then sent the dossier to the Police through Law and Order Ministry Secretary Jagath Wijeweera and informed authorities to brief him on the progress of the investigation.

He also assured to keep all relevant parties updated on the follow-up action taken by the law enforcement authorities.

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