Persecuted Sri Lankan paper wins British award

London, April 22 (Inditop) An anti-government Sri Lankan newspaper, whose editor was shot dead in January by unknown gunmen, has been named for a prestigious freedom of expression award in London.

The Sunday Leader was given the top Guardian Journalism Award as part of the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression awards Tuesday.

“The Sunday Leader and its journalists have been subject to continual threats and brutal harassment since it was launched 15 years ago,” Index on Censorship said.

“The assassination of the Sunday Leader’s editor and co-founder Lasantha Wickrematunge in January provoked protests and vigils around the world. His brother Lal has since bravely taken on the position of editor, continuing the important work of the newspaper.”

Speaking at the award ceremony, British broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby said: “Freedom of expression helps to define our essence as human beings and citizens. Everywhere this right is under growing threat.”

Others named were: Psiphon Psiphon for The Economist New Media Award; Chinese writer Ma Jian’s “Beijing Coma” for the TR Fyvel Book Award; Malaysian human rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar for the Bindmans Law and Campaigning Award; and The Devil Came on Horseback, a film on Darfur, for the Index on Censorship Film Award.