A Personal Loss

The death of a courageous TIME reporter exposes the threats to press freedom in Sri Lanka


Contrarian Wickrematunge took on government corruption.

In the last editorial that he wrote, Lasantha Wickrematunge lamented the loss of Sri Lanka's independent voices. "Much of the media has been bought, or cajoled and bullied into silence. Dozens of journalists are dead and others have been incarcerated without trial for months," he wrote in the Jan. 4 issue of his paper, the Sunday Leader. "Who then survives to provide the public with a contrarian view?"

Wickrematunge, 50, was one of this war-ravaged country's brave contrarians. For the past 14 years, his paper published cheeky editorials and outrageous exposés alleging corruption and self-dealing among politicians of every party and...

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