Sri Lanka state television stops live programs in protest

Mar 14, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state-run television service, Rupavahini, has suspended live programs other than news broadcasts in protest against an attack on one of their employees Friday morning, television workers said. Anurasiri Hettige, a trade union official, had been attacked with a metal bar in the Kottikawatte area of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo earlier in the day in the latest in a series of attacks against television workers.

Colombo hospital spokesman Dr Anil Jasinghe said Hettige has received emergency treatment for head wounds.

The attacks came after junior labour minister Mervyn Silva was held hostage by state television workers after he stormed the newsroom of Rupavahini in the company of thugs and assaulted its news director.

Before Friday’s attack librarian Ranjini Aluthge was slashed by a razor while traveling on a bus, and others including journalist Lal Mawalage had been knifed.

The island’s ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party had appointed a disciplinary committee to inquire into the conduct of minister Silva.

Separately media minister Anura Yapa said he has also received a report on the incident from a one man commission of inquiry. So far no action had been taken.

Meanwhil