FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SRI LANKA

For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

July 30, 2010, 12:00 pm

By Norman Palihawadana

Co-owner of Siyatha media organization popular actress Sangeetha Weeraratne commenting on yesterday’s predawn attack on her studios at Hunupitiya said that she could not be put down by such cowardly acts of violence.

The first floor of the three storeyed building where the Siyatha TV studio is located was badly damaged in the attack but the Siyatha Radio Station on an upper floor suffered minor damages.

According to the security personnel on duty at that time, six armed men came in two cars and launched the attack on the studios around 1.30 am. They had lobbed petrol bombs triggering a fire that engulfed part of the building. The Fire Brigade managed to bring the fire under control by dawn.

Three security guards were injured in the fire and two of them are receiving treatment at the National Hospital for burn injuries while one who had received minor injuries was discharged.

Co-owner Roshan Kariyapperuma, husband of film actress Sangeetha Weeraratne, said that it was a great loss for them. Million worth camera equipment had been destroyed in the fire along with other valuable equipment. He said though the exact damage had not been yet estimated, it could run into millions of rupees. “However, we cannot be stopped by these cowardly acts. We will forge ahead”, he told The Island.

He said neither the building nor the studio nor the equipment had been insured.

Media spokesman SP Prishantha Jayakody said that several police teams had been deployed to investigate the incident and the Government Analyst’s assistance sought.

Commenting on yesterday’s incident at the Siyatha media organization, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya while recalling the attacks on Sirasa called upon the government to hold a thorough investigation into yesterday’s incident and bring the perpetrators to book.

Rehabilitation and Prisons Minister D. E. W. Gunasekera condemned the attack and assured that a thorough investigation would be conducted.

The Siyatha Radio was on the air at the time this edition went to press.
http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=3267

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