Sri Lankan journalist Sonali Samarasinghe wins international award
Posted by Ajith on September 16, 2008
“I cannot accept this prize without remembering my colleagues in Sri Lanka. This year, 12 journalists have been killed, and one has been held hostage for 180 days,” Sonali Samarasinghe said when she came to stage to receive the award.
Her colleague, J.S. Tissanayagam has been in custody for 180 days, detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Samarasinghe was awarded for her articles on “Gangsterism and the faulty legal system” for The Sunday Leader in Sri Lanka.
Sonali Samarasinghe and the Sunday Leader decided enough was enough.
What started out as an attempt to follow-up on the beating of a bar patron by the son and bodyguards of a powerful government minister became an investigation that exposed how that government minister used his power and connections to the Prime Minister, to run roughshod over the media and the justice system.
Samarasinghe tracked down all the people connected to the beating and in the process found many other people, including police officers and lawyers with stories of corruption and brutality by the government minister and his son.
“Hopefully, this award will show that our work does not pass unnoticed internationally,” the prize-winning journalist said on stage.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists gives out the award, which is in the memory of the Wall Street journal journalist Daniel Pearl, who was slain by Pakistani militants in 2002.