Sri Lanka media groups concerned over ‘visit’ by soldiers

May 31, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan media groups have expressed grave concern over what they said was an ‘unofficial’ visit to the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) by soldiers. The SLPI and media rights group Free Media Movement (FMM) said the visit appeared linked to recent threats and assault on journalists, coming soon after a senior newspaper editor critical of the military was beaten up.

They said in separate statements that a complaint had been lodged with the police over the visit by soldiers to the SLPI on May 27 and called on the army to inquire into the matter.

They said armed persons dressed in uniforms of the Sri Lanka Army arrived at the headquarters of the SLPI and subsequently made inquiries pertaining to the individuals working for the institute, including its directorate.

“The armed men were not permitted to enter the premises by the Institute’s security guards.

“Thereupon, a lone Corporal, unarmed, proceeded to the Administration section of the office and began asking for the names of the individuals working for the Institute, including those in its directorate.

“When asked to show his identification, he stated that he was from the Ar