On Tuesday it was reported that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa threatened the chairman of The Sunday Leader, Lal Wickrematunge, by phone on 19 July. In response to an article that claimed China had given the president and his son millions of dollars to be used “at their discretion”, Rajapaksa reportedly told Wickrematunge, “you can attack me politically, but if you attack me personally, I will know how to attack you personally too.” The Sunday Leader is Sri Lanka’s only independent English-language newspaper, and has long been targeted by the government. The paper claims the 2009 murder of its former head, Lasantha Wickematunge (Lal’s brother), was never investigated fully.
The editor of Sri Lankan newspaper Udayan based in Jaffna has said he will lodge a complaint with authorities after receiving another threatening letter. The letter said “You may have to face danger. Completely stop publishing anything in the nature of boosting the terrorists or that gives the impression that the terrorists are still active.” Udayan has been threatened in the past. In 2006 one of their printing warehouses was burnt down and editorial offices fired at. The editor E Saravanabavan told the Sunday Leader that Udayan would continue to publish, albeit cautiously and doubted that an investigation would yield positive results. Read more here