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The Assassination of a Leading Media Personality
Statement by the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo
CEYLON 090109-1
January 9, 2009

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] The assassination of the Editor of the Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunga, in broad day light on a public road in Colombo yesterday morning sent mixed shock waves of anger, fear and desperation through the country. This deliberate and senseless act must be condemned by all Sri Lankans who value life and media freedom. It is part of a wider and worsening strategy to suppress and silence the media.

I extend the condolences and assurance of the prayers of our Church to his wife Sonali, his children and the rest of his family; as well as the staff at the Sunday Leader. May the God of truth and consolation sustain you through the difficult days ahead and guide you in the ways of courage and truth that Lasantha himself strived towards.

Mr Wickremetunga was a leading media personality, committed to investigative journalism. His assassination, in times like these when truth is deliberately distorted, is a severe blow to the responsible role the media is called upon to play in our journey towards a just democratic culture. It is also an indication of the worsening crisis in good governance and the fast deteriorating law and order situation.

In these circumstances it is only the collective response of a mature, courageous and sensible political, civil society and religious leadership that can prevent the country from plunging into inevitable chaos.

With peace and blessings to all

The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo
9th January 2009