Frederica Jansz, who was sacked from her post as Editor in Chief at The Sunday Leader in September this year is learnt to have left Sri Lanka together with her two sons having been granted refuge by a powerful nation currently pushing to hold the Sri Lankan government accountable for possible war crimes and other human right abuses including abuses of media freedoms and stifling the press.
Finally I feel safe. My kids are safe. The pressure, the persecution has been intense. It was a nightmare. I am thankful I got out alive – Jansz
Jansz was sacked in September this year when The Sunday Leader was purchased by the government who fronted a pro Rajapaksa stooge to conclude the sale in the form of Asanga Seneviratne. The latter it is learnt insisted Jansz not carry articles critical of the “First Family” and then orchestrated a frivolous police complaint against her, insisting she continued to publish copy that were according to Seneviratne, “malicious and slanderous” of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his coterie of family holding government office.
In the backdrop of what has been described by international media organizations as an alarming trend in stifling freedom of expression and independent reportage, Frederica has left Sri Lanka after she came under increasing pressure and continued persecution by the Rajapaksa dominated government.
Frederica now joins dozens of other journalists who have fled Sri Lanka since 2005 when Mahinda Rajapaksa took office as President.
Following her termination from the newspaper the new management at The Sunday Leader agreed to publish an apology to the all powerful Defense Secretary and brother to the President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa for having published an article in July this year titled, ‘Gota Goes Berserk.’ In which article Rajapaksa was placed on record having used foul language on Jansz including threatening her with possible death.
Frederica had since her termination confided to close associates that she had been followed home twice by men on motorbikes as well as received a threatening phone call. When Colombo Telegraph contacted and spoke briefly with Jansz and asked if she had made a police complaint she replied, “What is the point anymore? In Sri Lanka the police are impotent in these cases.”
Frederica was also facing further litigation initiated by Gotabaya Rajapaksa when in July this year following the article ‘ Gota Goes Berserk’ he revived a Contempt of Court action he filed in 2009 and had laid by following her giving evidence in the White Flag case.
Frederica, according to confidantes had said she had been warned by her lawyers that there were moves to possibly impound her passport at the next court hearing scheduled for later this month. She was also facing a jail term if the case was decided in favour of Rajapaksa.
Frederica and her young family have since been moved to a safe location under the auspices of a foreign government.
Speaking from her new abode she told Colombo Telegraph, “Finally I feel safe. My kids are safe. The pressure, the persecution has been intense. It was a nightmare. I am thankful I got out alive.”
Jansz took over as Editor in Chief of The Sunday Leader following the assassination of her predecessor Lasantha Wickrematunge who was murdered while driving to work on January 8, 2009.