18 June, 2018

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Sri Lankan Editor Frederica Jansz Flees Sri Lanka; ‘Finally I feel safe’ Says Jansz

By Colombo Telegraph

Frederica Jansz, who was sacked from her post as Editor in Chief at The Sunday Leader in September this year is learnt to have left Sri Lanka together with her two sons having been granted refuge by a powerful nation currently pushing to hold the Sri Lankan government accountable for possible war crimes and other human right abuses including abuses of media freedoms and stifling the press.

Finally I feel safe. My kids are safe. The pressure, the persecution has been intense. It was a nightmare. I am thankful I got out alive - Jansz

Jansz was sacked in September this year when The Sunday Leader was purchased by the government who fronted a pro Rajapaksa stooge to conclude the sale in the form of Asanga Seneviratne.  The latter it is
learnt insisted Jansz not carry articles critical of the “First Family” and then orchestrated a frivolous police complaint against her, insisting she continued to publish copy that were according to Seneviratne, “malicious and slanderous” of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his coterie of family holding government office.

In the backdrop of what has been described by international media organizations as an alarming trend in stifling freedom of expression and independent reportage, Frederica has left Sri Lanka after she came
under increasing pressure and continued persecution by the Rajapaksa dominated government.

Frederica now joins dozens of other journalists who have fled Sri Lanka since 2005 when Mahinda Rajapaksa took office as President.

Following her termination from the newspaper the new management at The Sunday Leader agreed to publish an apology to the all powerful Defense Secretary and brother to the President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa for having
published an article in July this year titled, ‘Gota Goes Berserk.’ In which article Rajapaksa was placed on record having used foul language on Jansz including threatening her with possible death.

Frederica had since her termination confided to close associates that she had been followed home twice by men on motorbikes as well as received a threatening phone call.  When Colombo Telegraph contacted and spoke briefly with Jansz and asked if she had made a police complaint she replied, “What is the point anymore? In Sri Lanka the police are impotent in these cases.”

Frederica was also facing further litigation initiated by Gotabaya Rajapaksa when in July this year following the article ‘ Gota Goes Berserk’ he revived a Contempt of Court action he filed in 2009 and had laid by following her giving evidence in the White Flag case.

Frederica, according to confidantes had said she had been warned by her lawyers that there were moves to possibly impound her passport at the next court hearing scheduled for later this month.  She was also facing a
jail term if the case was decided in favour of Rajapaksa.

Frederica and her young family have since been moved to a safe location under the auspices of a foreign government.

Speaking from her new abode she told Colombo Telegraph, “Finally I feel safe.  My kids are safe. The pressure, the persecution has been intense. It was a nightmare. I am thankful I got out alive.”

Jansz took over as Editor in Chief of The Sunday Leader following the assassination of her predecessor Lasantha Wickrematunge who was murdered while driving to work on January 8, 2009.

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Latest comments

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    Good luck FJ, Keep up your braveness against these thuggery government ..
    cheers ..!!

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    Journalism is not necessarily a fair game of reporting the truth and facts. Often, it has more to do with financial success, formation of “appropriate” public opinion and maintaining readership and thus market share.

    The future journalistic success of Ms Janz will hinge more on how she fits the bill on the above set of criteria in her new country. If indeed she had been paid a very handsome retrenchment fee by the new owners at her former workplace, she would have secured two birds with one little stone, while the rest of us squabble over minor issues…

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    She may not be a perfect journalist, but was doing her difficult job under lot of pressure, When you consider the degree of imperfection other editors have consciously brought in by hiding and twisting facts she was among the very few who were brave enough to expose what others with vested interests were trying to hide and twist.

    Most male chauvinist would hate her courage, as evident from some of the comments

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      Is it the reason why male journalists were called to Araliya Gaha Mandiraya and were given interest free loans to buy cars and free lap tops.

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    Fredrica has just narrowly escaped arrest by fleecing to U…. I wish you well and hope now you have all the time to write your own novel on the Family Dynasty In the Wonder of Asia that made you Flee. We hope it will be very interesting to read and wish it to be a best seller. Good luck and all the best.

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      Yes writers have a very good demand in those countries and you could make use of your talents and make good money. Also writing books could be a foreign exchange earner to our country.

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    SL is in turmoil politically with the Rajapaksa regime running rampant – corruption, rape, murder and mismanagement. Some of the responses to this article tells us why they are able to continue their ways ….they have stooges who have benefitted from what they are doing and support them. These stooges have no ethics. They would not understand what this word means. What a mess. MR crept into power and has created a dictatorship raping the country. It will not end as long as the people of the country fail to stand up and expose them like FJ bravely did. Wen will this mess come to an end and the country be free from these monsters.

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    Sorry Frederica, my brother Gotabaya is mentally ill and suffers from an inferiority complex, persecution complex and is basically completely f****d up. I too am afraid that he will kill me. Gota also has erectile dysfunction so that makes him a very frustrated man – even his hand cannot make him erect. Poor fellow.
    But I am too much of a coward to run. I wish you well.

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    Singalese are the real ruthless tsiorrrets in the world. Since 1948 they, under the cover of democracy, have murdered more than 200,000 innocent Tamils. Singalese have burnt thousands of houses of Tamils, destroyed hundreds of thousands of houses of Tamils, stolen several trillion dollars worth of Tamils properties.

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    Frederica Jansz was the only journalist with the gumption (and nose for a good story) to turn up to Mirihana Police Station, where I was being held in April 1996, to interview me before my deportation from Sri Lanka.

    I have watched her interview with Groundviews tonight and I must say she hasn’t changed a bit from that young reporter in search of a story, who was willing to listen and observe carefully, without interposing her ego or opinion or making judgements, and then report clearly and truthfully what she had seen and heard.

    I used to write the Editorials for the Sunday Times for a few months in 1988 when Rita Sebastian was Editor: she would tell me the topic and angle, and I would put my ‘Oxford English’ to work –it was usually the early hours of Sunday morning, hot and sticky under the whirring fan, deathly quiet in Fort outside the open window, and the plain tea didn’t do much good in keeping us awake as we yawned and gossiped, waiting for the paper to be ” put to bed”. But those sleepless Saturday nights and Sunday mornings left me with great admiration for Sri Lankan journalists and the hardships they endure…. how many have since been murdered, ‘disappeared’, run away to involuntary exile, died before their time of disappointment, stress and alcohol, committed suicide, learnt to keep their counsel (and their jobs)? It was 1973, wasn’t it, when Mervyn de Silva was forced to resign as Editor of the Ceylon Daily News for allowing the obituary announcing that “D.E.M. O’Cracy” had died to appear in its Obituary columns, after Mrs Bandaranaike extended her Presidency by dubious constitutional means? What a lot of journalists’ blood has flowed under the bridge (of Free Speech? of Sighs?) since then! And now another one bites the dust…..

    Well, Frederica, if it’s any consolation, you look scarcely a day older than the evening in 1996 when you crept into the womens’ sleeping quarters at Mirihana Detention Centre, having bribed the female guard to look the other way…Bon Chance mon ami

    Jane Russell (Dr.)

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    Frederica, Good Luck and Congratulations on your ‘escape’ from the so so called Rajapakse paradise. Its getting to be a hell hole. Absolute power in the hands of the Rajapakse family corrupts absolutely. We all wish you a great future in your new country. Keep up the good work. There are many admirers.

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