Sri Lankan journalist attacked ‘with iron bars’

July 30, 2011 (AFP) – An ethnic Tamil journalist in Sri Lanka’s formerly embattled north was brutally attacked with iron bars, police said on Saturday, the latest in a string of assaults on the nation’s media. UN records show 5,653 outstanding “enforced and involuntary disappearances” in Sri Lanka. Among those missing is freelance journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda, who vanished on the eve of the 2010 presidential polls. Gnanasundaram Kuhanathan, news editor of the Tamil-language daily Uthayan, was attacked by a gang of men wielding iron bars on Friday near his home in the area formerly held by separatist Tamil rebels, police said.

“The man is in intensive care in hospital” with serious head injuries, police spokesman Prishantha Jayakody told AFP, adding no arrests had yet been made.

At least six workers at the Jaffna-based Uthayan newspaper, including four journalists, have been killed since 2006 over its alleged pro-nationalist Tamil stance.

“This attack is aimed at scaring our employees so they will leave journalism,” Uthayan’s publisher E. Sarvanapavan told AFP.

The opposition Tamil National Alliance legislator said he believed the assault was in response to a recent swe