Sri Lanka tv newsman stalked by mystery gang, says watchdog

Feb 18, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan journalists who expose government corruption are being subject to harassment and intimidation, the Free Media Movement said. The latest incident was an attempt to intimidate Susil Kedelpitiya, the news director of the popular Sinhala TV channel Sirasa, it said in a statement.

Kedelpitiya has complained to police that he was followed by a “hostile group” which tried to force open the door of his car in an apparent attempt to harm him on the morning of February 15 and that he was followed by a puck-up truck the same night.

“Sirasa has been at the forefront of news coverage and investigative reporting in the public interest especially through a news segment called Action TV,” the FMM said.

“Action TV has recently exposed a number of stories on corruption involving powerful figures. For instance, in its news bulletin of 14th February it exposed how 2,800 50kg bags of sugar ordered by a Magistrate to be destroyed found their way to the market, with some bags re-sold to local merchants and illicit breweries.

“The FMM stands convinced that the attempt to harm journalist Kindelpitiya is related to his work as News