M.A. Sumanthiran

MP Sumanthiran is partly correct: 14 Tamil journalists were killed, but not all were murdered


If I remember correctly, [in the past 20 years] 14 Tamil journalists have been murdered.

Mawbima | October 25, 2018


Partly True

Fact Check

On the 25th of October 2018, the Mawbima newspaper reported this statement made by MP M. A. Sumanthiran at the 20th anniversary of the Colombo Declaration of Media Freedom and Social Responsibility.

Is the claim made by MP Sumanthiran true?

In order to fact-check the accuracy of this claim, we referred to the website of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). According to their database, a total of 19 journalists were killed in Sri Lanka between 1999 and 2009, with no journalists recorded as being killed between 2010 and the present.

Exhibit 1 below gives the number of journalists killed in Sri Lanka during 1999-2009, with a breakdown by ethnicity and cause of death, as available on the CPJ website.

As Exhibit 1 shows, of the 19 journalists killed between 1999 and 2009, 14 were Tamil. Of these 14, 9 were murdered.

Therefore, even though MP Sumanthiran was right about the fact that 14 Tamil journalists have died within the specified time period, he is wrong about the number who were murdered. For this reason, we have classified this claim as PARTLY TRUE.

Exhibit 1: Number of journalists killed during 1999-2009 with a breakdown by ethnicity and cause of death