Sri Lanka minister a challenge to law enforcement: media watchdog

Aug 05, 2008 (LBO) – The culture of impunity and the continued attacks against Sri Lanka’s media were condemned by the watchdog Free Media Movement, after a TV cameraman was assaulted by thugs while covering a state event. Controversial minister Mervyn Silva grabbed the camera of a Sirasa and MTV network cameraman, while goons surrounded him at a state ceremony where all media was invited to attend.

“There is a culture of impunity, and the conduct of minister Mervyn Silva is a challenge to the government in maintaining law and order,” FMM spokesman Sunanda Deshapriya said.

The attack took place in broad daylight in the presence of police, but no law enforcement officer came to the assistance of the cameraman when dozens of goons surrounded him, eye witnesses said.

“The cameraman was hospitalized with abdominal pains after they injured his testicles,” head of MTV, Chevaan Daniel, said.

The minister himself grabbed the camera and also removed the Sirasa TV microphone from the podium where guests at a bridge opening ceremony were scheduled to speak, eye witnesses said.

Minister Silva and his goons had previously assaulted