Sri Lanka Tamil journalist arrested: rights group

March 7, 2008 (AFP) – A Sri Lankan Tamil columnist was detained by police Friday while the authorities were also trying to arrest another media activist, a rights group said. J. S. Tissanayagam, columnist of the Sunday Times newspaper here, was taken in for questioning by police Friday after the arrest of two more journalists on Thursday, the local Free Media Movement (FMM) rights group said.

FMM official Sunanda Deshapriya said the police were also trying to arrest their spokesman S. Sivakumar, who is also a minority Tamil journalist.

There was no immediate word from the government.

International media rights activists have described Sri Lanka as one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists due to a worsening climate of violence and unofficial censorship.

Killings and attacks against journalists remained unsolved leading to fears that media freedom is being deliberately and violently suppressed through threats, abductions and attacks, a team of media activists said last year.

Since August 2005, 11 media workers have been killed in Sri Lanka. Ten of them were killed in government-controlled areas and no one has been brought to justice