May 01, 2009

Kerry, Lugar, Casey Mark World Press Freedom Day

 WASHINGTON, DC -- In advance of World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA), Ranking Member Senator Dick Lugar (R-IL) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, joined to release the following statement:

"World Press Freedom Day, Sunday May 3, is an important reminder that a free press promotes an open marketplace of ideas and provides public and private sector accountability to a nation's electorate. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 11 journalists have already been killed this year because of their work. Two of those journalists, Lasantha Wickrematunga and Puniyamoorthy Sathiyamoorthy, were killed in Sri Lanka where members of the press have also disappeared, been beaten and imprisoned. Many Sri Lankan journalists are now in exile, living in fear of retribution for their work.

"We are concerned about the detention of journalists in Sri Lanka including J.S. Tissainayagam and his two colleagues, Vetivel Jasikaran and his wife Valarmathi Jasikaran, all of whom chronicled the humanitarian crisis caused by the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka.

"Together, we urge the Government of Sri Lanka to protect its journalists and conduct swift, full, and credible investigations into attacks on them. It is in every nation's best interest to have an independent press that is free to question, challenge, and investigate -- without fear of political persecution and retribution."

Press Contact

Frederick Jones (Kerry), 202-224-4651
Andy Fisher (Lugar), 202-224-2079
Larry Smar (Casey), 202-228-6367