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 July 5, 2012. PEN 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 Sri Lanka is a signatory.

Please also send your messages of solidarity to Federica Jansz at

Background Information

Article 19 gives the following information in its press release:

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, and

Read Frederica Jansz's interview in full.

For further background about Gotabaya Rajapakse, click here.

Write A Letter

  • Calling for an investigation into the threats made against journalist Federica Jansz, and for her immediate protection;
  • Expressing deep concern about the implications that this threat has on the state of free expression and journalists’ safety in Sri Lanka, where a culture of impunity prevails;
  • Urging the Sri Lankan authorities to make clear its commitments to the promotion and protection of freedom of expression as per its obligations under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Send Your Letter To

His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Presidential Secretariat
Colombo 1
Sri Lanka
Fax: +94 11 2446657

Attorney General
Mr. Mohan Peiris
Attorney General's Department
Colombo 12
Sri Lanka
Fax: +94 11 2 436421

Messages of solidarity can be sent to Federica Jansz at

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Sri Lanka in your country if possible.

Please send appeals immediately. Contact PEN if sending appeals after August 30, 2012: ftw [at]