The International Federation of journalists (IFJ) and its Sri Lankan affiliates, the Free Media Movement (FMM), the Federation of Media Employees Trade Union (FMETU) and the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA) urged the Sri Lankan authorities to immediately release Keerthi Ratnayake, a journalist affiliated with Lanka e News.
Ratnayake was arrested under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) on August 14, accused of providing intelligence information to the Indian embassy in Sri Lanka.
In a letter written to the Inspector General of Police, Chandana D. Wickramaratne, the Media Organizations Collective said, “We urge that the investigations be done under the proper regulations, as his editors have informed us that the Police are currently questioning him about unrelated details – those about the news website. We would like to remind that journalists have a responsibility to not reveal their sources, and only reveal what is necessary for legal proceedings.”
“The IFJ notes that the Sri Lankan government is employing different means to harass journalists, invoking dubious terrorism charges under the problematic PTA. We urge the Sri Lankan government to stop using the PTA as a means to silence the voice of journalists and ensure that those taken into custody are released safely. Keerthi Ratnayake must be released immediately,” the IFJ said.