Sri Lanka mediaman threatened by gangsters; errant minister runs free: rights body

Mar 01, 2008 (LBO) – Another mediaman who filmed a confrontation between state TV workers and a minister who stormed the station’s newsroom has been threatened by gangsters, a media rights body said.

Assistant camera news director Priyal Ranjith Perera had been threatened by a four-member gang who came to his residence and appeared to pull a knife on him, the Free Media Movement (FMM) said in a statement.

When he screamed for help and neighbours arrived, the gangsters had fled in a three-wheeled vehicle.

“I suspect a link between the December 27 melee and this incident. My staff filmed the mayhem that day,” Perera was quoted as saying by the FMM.

“Since then I have been under threat.”

TV workers held junior labour minister Mervyn Silva after he and a group of thugs – including one who later turned out to be involved in a criminal case – allegedly assaulted the news chief of the station.

FMM said this was the fourth case where a journalist who stood up against the “thuggery” of minister Silva had been threatened.

Authorities have meanwhile questioned 21 state TV workers over the incident.

“Not a single thug who accompanied MP (member of parliament) Mervyn Sil