The Centre for Journalism and Education (CJE) has, in a press statement, strongly condemned former OIC of the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) Neomal Rangajeewa attempting to assault photojournalist Akila Jayawardana, attached to Ceylon Today newspaper, at the Colombo High Court premises.
Rangajeewa is a defendant in a case, which alleges his involvement in the killing of inmates at Welikada during the prison riot there in 2012.
"Jayawardana, who was on the High Court premises to cover another court case, clicked a photo of Rangajeewa’s arriving there. An irate Rangajeewa grabbed Jayawardana by the collar and took him to the police post at the Colombo High Court. Jayawardana had lodged a complaint saying that Rangajeewa attempted to assault him at the police post and that Rangajeewa tried to take the memory chips containing his photos,"CJE said in a press release.
Taking photos of parties involved in important cases, at the court premises, is a standard practice in journalism and Rangajeewa, who also gives evidence at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on Political Victimization during the previous government, at BMICH, hobnobs freely with journalists after PCoI sessions and photos showing his arrival at the PCoI is widely circulated in the media, it said.
"Therefore, Jayawardana taking a photo of Rangajeewa doesn’t affect the personal security of the former OIC of the Police Narcotics Bureau. Relevant officials must immediately investigate Jayawardana’s complaint and take steps against Rangajeewa lest this sets a bad precedent and embolden others like him."
The courtesy: The Island