Tuesday, February 23, 2010Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) condemns the vandalisation of Uthayan, a Scarborough Ontario-based newspaper which occurred sometime in the early hours of Sunday, February 21. Uthayan's editor Logan Logendralingam received a phone call at 7:30 Sunday morning. He reports that the unidentified caller said, "Okay, your friends went to Colombo and met the president of Sri Lanka - the enemy of Tamils who killed 40,000 innocent people. Go to your office: There is a message for you." When Logendralingam reached the newspaper's office he discovered that the large plate glass window had been smashed. Uthayan has been in existence for 15 years and is read widely by the local Tamil community. Logendralingam believes that the violence is in connection to a recent meeting between individuals from the Tamil diaspora and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, he did not report on this in Uthayan. He says "they know I'm a close friend with these people. They wanted to take some revenge and so they targeted me." Logendralingam spoke to CJFE after the attack and says that he will continue to publish as before. He is also hopeful that the police investigation will track down the perpetrators and that they will be brought to justice. This is not the first time there have been violent attacks on individuals and media property in the Tamil community. In the 1990s there were vicious assaults and tactics that caused newspapers deemed to be critical of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to be closed down. In 1993, Tamil journalist D. B. S. Jeyaraj was badly beaten resulting in a broken leg and head injuries. In another case, distributors of the weekly newspaper Thayagam were targeted. CJFE condemns this act of violence against the newspaper Uthayan and all other acts of intimidation that have been used to silence dissenting voices in the Tamil community in Canada.
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