6 June, 2023


The Writers In Prison Committee Of PEN International Joins Article 19 In Its Concerns For The Safety Of Frederica

By Pen International –

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International joins Article 19 in its concerns for the safety of Sri Lankan journalist Frederica Jansz (f), who received a death threat from Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa during a telephone interview on 5 July 2012. PEN International reiterates its concern for the safety of journalists in Sri Lanka, many of whom are attacked and threatened with apparent impunity for their reporting. It is calling for a full investigation into the threats against Frederica Jansz and for immediate assurances of her safety. PEN reminds the authorities of Sri Lanka’s commitments to the promotion and protection of freedom of expression under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which it is a signatory. Please also send your messages of solidarity to Federica Jansz at fjansz@gmail.com

Article 19 gives the following information:

‘Frederica Jansz is the editor of Sri Lankan weekly newspaper, The Sunday Leader, and was conducting a phone interview with Rajapaksa, who is also the brother of the president.

According to The Sunday Leader, Rajapaksa told Jansz during the interview: “You pig that eats shit! You shit shit dirty fucking journalist! […] People will kill you! People hate you! They will kill you!”

The Sunday Leader and its journalists face regular attack. The newspaper’s editor, Lasantha Wickramatunge, was assassinated on his way to work on 8 January 2009. Nobody has ever been prosecuted for the crime.

Censorship and violence has recently increased against online sources of information and their authors. On 29 June, eight journalists and an assistant were arrested after the Sri Lankan police raided the offices of two news websites,srilankamirror.com and srilankaxnews.com.’

To read Article 19’s press release in full, click here.
To read the interview in full, click here;
For further background about Gotabaya Rajapakse, click here.


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    Frederica Jansz is one of the foremost journalists in the country who have the professional integrity, moral conviction and dauntless courage to continue to expose the horrors and confront the evil of the Rajapakse Regime head-on. The Sunday Leader has been a vanguard media force in fearlessly exposing the truth and holding corrupt public officials and politicians accountable. It acts as the conscience of society and the guardian of democracy and justice.

    Frederica is simply carrying out the high tradition of journalist ethics and excellence established by the late Lasantha Wickrematunga. Lasantha too was subjected to repeated threats by the ruling junta, and finally brutally slaughtered in broad daylight, within a high security zone.Frederica too has been subjected to intense and sustained threats and intimidation. Gotabhaya Rajapakse, Secretary to the Ministry of Defense, has been in the forefront in unleashing a campaign of malicious intimidation against her, having the character of a personnel vendetta. The recent obscene outburst by the Secretary is a continuation and a concentration of the vile depths to which this vendetta has sunk, and is symptomatic of the fascistic-terrorist degeneration, desperation, and sheer political bankruptcy of the Rajapakse Junta Regime.

    However, the recent bomblast directed against Frederica is simply not to be tolerated, given its clear fascist-terrorist character, content and intent. It is an assualt against humanity, against all sense of common decency, against the grain of civilised life.Gotabhaya Rajapakse is not fit to be a public official. He never was.He is the embodiment of a terminal megalomania, the sprit of an introverted, demented and vengeful ego, stewing in a pathological pit of inferiority and impotence, molded in the crib of a militarized, self-glorified, and supremely narcissistic sense of omnipotence.

    I believe that, as a citizen and a person, I have the supreme right to psychoanalyse this Secretary to the Ministry of Defense, not only because he has abused his position to villify and terrorise a cherished journalist and so terrorise the media in general, but also bear testimony to the inevitable verdict of history and the rule of Justice against all the crimes against humanity committed by this abominable Regime- and the system itself.Gota should resign, but that would be like asking the leech to give up its blood-sucking nature.

    I know that Frederica will not be any less the outstandingly fearless journalist she is due to these low-life threats and abuse.She has felt the white heat of state terror before and come out that much stronger, vibrant and true to herself.

    Frederica, you are a flame of resistance against despotism, tyranny and terror and a true guardian of the people.

    We salute you and embrace you.

    Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe
    Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist)

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