Wife accepts award for Lasantha Wickramatunga

Sonali Samarasinghe came to Washington, D.C., to accept the 2009 Freedom of the Press award from the National Press Club on behalf of her slain husband Lasantha Wickramatunga.

Wickramatunga was murdered in January 2009 following a career of standing up to the Sri Lankan government. In his last editorial, he predicted his death.

An oft quoted portion of that editorial is:

No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the past few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print-media institutions have been burnt, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories and now especially the last.

The award ceremony was co-sponsored by the NPC International Correspondents and Freedom of Press committees with the International Communications Forum.

You can watch a video of the ceremony here: 2009 International Freedom of the Press Award

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