Sri Lanka independent newspaper press set on fire; rights body outraged

Sri Dharanee Performance Arts Theatre

Nov 21, 2007 (LBO) – An armed group wearing masks that entered the premises of an independent Sri Lankan newspaper house has set on fire and destroyed its printing press early Wednesday morning. “FMM urges civil society and political society who uphold freedom of expression to come forward at this time in defence of people’s right to information and for the right to have a free press in Sri Lanka,” the rights body said.

Updated The rights body, Free Media Movement which expressed outrage at the latest act against freedom of the press in the island said authorities were responsible for not being able to protect the printing house of Leader Publications.

The press prints The Sunday Leader and The Morning Leader English newspapers and the Irudina Sinhala newspaper.

“The culture of impunity prevailing in this country has prevented any meaningful inquiry into all acts of violence against media and journalists that have taken place under this government,” the FMM said.

“The government has failed miserably to uphold and maintain rule of law when peoples’ democratic and human rights are violated.”

A spokesperson for Leader Publications said some issues of today’s Morni