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Security and Independence of Journalists
The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
CEYLON 070905-1
September 5, 2007

A Statement by the Bishop of Colombo

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] I refer to several worrying news reports regarding the withdrawal of security to the Sunday Times columnist and CNN correspondent Iqbal Athas.

Mr Athas is very well known as an independent investigative journalist who brings a very high degree of professionalism, integrity and courage into his work. His regular columns have done much to create public awareness on national issues, without which the democratic space of a nation gradually shrinks.

This is the latest of many reports of journalists and reporters who have been intimidated, physically attacked and in some instances killed. So far, the perpetrators have not been apprehended and prosecuted.

I urge the Government and the law enforcement authorities in particular to address this deteriorating situation immediately and to ensure adequate security for Mr Athas and all journalists under threat so that they could exercise their profession with dignity and without fear.

With Peace and Blessings.

The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo

5th September 2007
368 Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 00700, Sri Lanka.
e-mail: bishop@eureka.lk