Sri Lankan media rights activist beaten: colleagues

June 1, 2009 (AFP) – A Sri Lankan media rights activist was hospitalised Monday after being beaten by unidentified attackers near the capital Colombo, a doctor and journalists said. Poddala Jayantha, secretary of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association, was abducted near his home and was severely attacked with sticks and later dumped in a suburb of Colombo, his colleagues said.

He had been hit on his head and legs, Colombo National hospital director Hector Weerasinghe said.

“He is conscious and is out of danger,” doctor Weerasinghe said.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, but colleagues said Jayantha’s media activism had been criticised by state authorities in recent weeks.

It was the second physical attack against a journalist since leading anti-establishment editor Lasantha Wickrematunga was shot dead near the capital on January 8.

Wickrematunga had been critical of the government’s military campaign against Tamil Tiger rebels.

State media reports in recent weeks have accused unnamed journalists of colluding with Tamil Tiger rebels, who were defeated with the complete rout of their leadership last month. In January, the gover