For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Saturday, 31 July 2010 00:00
Of course there are different versions to the story. However the fact remains that one needs some guts to send about dozen armed men to a media office located just a few hundred metres from the Temple Trees and throw bombs at it. The gang had also got the employees to kneel down and attacked them.
Gone are the days when one had to think twice, thrice or ten times to figure the culprits after an attack on media institutions. Those were the days of the LTTE and paramilitary groups and groups within the paramilitaries. However today everything has been narrowed down to A and B.
Of course the security lax in the city created by the removal of barriers has the potential to give ideas to any sinister element bent on creating havoc. People with all kind of agendas including the ones out to embarrass the government have the ability to make use of the alert free atmosphere to their advantage.
Still Hunupitiya Lake Road is too central for an ordinary gang to come in two vehicles, assault the employees and bomb the place and get away Scot-free. Two white cars are way too conspicuous to use in a high risk crime like an arson attack on a media company in the city centre. Yet one should not rule out anything here. There can always be smart ones who know how to carry out operations of this nature without leaving a trace behind.
Irrespective of the loyalties of the goons an attack on a media institution always put the government in bad light. After all it boils down to the issue of the law and order situation of the country and if goons can attack a media institution in the city, one located just a few hundred metres from the abode of the head of the state, one may ask what security guarantees are there for the rest of the countryman or should one say for the head of the State himself.
Media persons definitely are not a rare species. There are thousands of them and they certainly are not above the ordinary people of this country. However if not for media’s tab on the democratic values Sri Lanka would have been in a terrible shape by today. The people would have been far worse off. Any attack on media therefore should be considered an attack on the people in this country.