Sri Lanka intimidation of journalists condemned by rights group

March 05, 2008 (LBO) – Media rights group Reporters Without Borders has condemned attacks against Sri Lankan journalists who exposed by live broadcast an assault by a junior cabinet minister on a state TV station news director. It said in a statement that the authorities appeared more concerned with probing journalists who resisted the assault by labour minister Mervyn Silva than investigating the attack by the minister and his bodyguards.

It was referring to an incident last December in which Silva stormed the Rupavahini television station and assaulted its news director T M G Chandrasekara.

“Journalists continue to be physically attacked in connection with minister’s use of force,” the statement said.

“Reporters Without Borders condemns two attacks on journalists on 27 February that seem to be linked to their coverage of (the) incident.

“Attacks and acts of intimidation against journalists for objecting to Silva’s use of force is intolerable,” the media freedom organisation said.

“How can one account for the fact that the authorities spend more time interrogating journalists than looking for those responsible for these attacks?”

Four men armed with knives tried on February 27 to attack Priyal R