Sri Lanka media attack threatens freedom: US

Feb 02, 2011 (LBO) – The United States said it was “deeply concerned” about the most recent attack on the media in Sri Lanka and said such violence silences voices, undermines freedom of expression and further undermines democracy.

A total of 17 journalists and media employees have been killed in Sri Lanka in the past decade, prompting rights groups to say many local reporters exercise self-censorship to avoid confrontations with the authorities.

The offices of Lanka e-news, a web based news site was set ablaze by an unidentified group.

“We are deeply concerned about the recent attack on an office of Lanka-E-News in Colombo,” the US embassy said in a statement.

“Regardless of who is responsible for this incident, such violence directed against a media institution silences voices, further threatens freedom of expression, and undermines democracy throughout the country.

“We understand President Rajapaksa has announced an inquiry into the incident. We urge that the investigation be conducted quickly and fairly and that all the perpetrators be brought to justice.”