Sri Lankan Journalist Predicts Death

An extraordinary and moving article written by Lasantha Wickrematunge is reprinted in today’s Guardian. The editor of Sri Lanka’s Sunday Leader wrote a column defending investigative journalism in the midst of government terror and predicted his death because of it. As attacks against independent media worsened, he wrote, “Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories, and now especially the last…When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me.” He writes the “call of conscience” drove him to pursue journalism, as his paper frequently spoke against the army’s occupation of Sri Lanka’s north and east and the Tamil Tigers, “among the most ruthless and bloodthirsty organisations to have infested the planet.” Despite previous assaults he blamed on the government, he remained close with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whom he calls a friend, and wrote, “I hope my assassination will be seen not as a defeat of freedom but an inspiration for those who survive to step up their efforts.” Wickrematunge was killed in Colombo three days prior to its publication.