Arson Protest

February 1, 2011 (AFP) – Dozens of Sri Lankan journalists took to the capital’s streets Tuesday to condemn an arson attack on an independent website that was blamed by its editor on the government. Reporters, photographers and employees of privately-run media joined a demonstration in central Colombo a day after the arson attack on the office of the Lankaenews.com website.

“Lanka E-News, the latest victim of media suppression,” said a placard carried by one protester. “Condemn arson attack,” said another.

Unidentified attackers set ablaze the LEN office, destroying its computers and library, but the website — which is based abroad — was up and running Tuesday.

Its editor, Sandaruwan Senadeera, who fled to Britain after receiving death threats, said he believed a powerful section of the government was behind the attack.

“There is a concerted effort by the government to silence websites which are not supporting them,” Senadeera told AFP by telephone from London. “The situation for the media in Sri Lanka is going from bad to worse.”

He added: “A powerful section of the government has carried out this attack.”

The website had three days earlier published an intelligence