Sri Lanka journalists protest arson attack on website

Feb 01, 2011 (AFP) – Dozens of Sri Lankan journalists took to the capital’s streets Tuesday to condemn an arson attack on a popular independent website and protest against assaults on press freedom in the country. 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, told the London-based Independent newspaper that he believed people linked to the government had carried out the attack.

“The government is responsible. Three days earlier we had revealed an intelligence report about the defence secretary and we think that is why this has happened,” he said.

His Sri Lanka-based deputy, Bennet Rupasinghe, said he did not expect an investigation announced by President Mahinda Rajapakse to be f