FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SRI LANKA

For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

Popular independent website office set on fire in Colombo

Lanka e News - populer news site in Sinhala

NFR Action Alert 2011/01

http://www.lankaenews.com office located in Daham Mawatha, Malabe, Sri Lanka has been set on fire around 2.00 am, 31 January 2011. A short news item posted on the site says that ” About an hour ago, the LankaeNews office premises was set on fire. At about 2.00 am today, a group of unknown personnels had broken into the premises and set it on fire. By now everything that was inside the building has been destroyed.”

 

NfR sources in Colombo confirmed   that office building is on fire and no one form the staff has been able to reach the office as it could be dangerous.

 

Lanka  e News is a leading Sinhala language website which has come under various threats and attacks since the presidential election January 2010 for its support for  common opposition candidate former Army commander Sarath Fonseka.

 

It’s editor Sandaruewan Senadeera had to leave the country for his safety after continuous threats to his life but the website was run form Colombo by a dedicated group of  journalists.

 

Some of the journalists working for the web site too have received various threats in recent times. Prageeth Eknaligoda, the journalists and cartoonist who  disappeared a one year ago on 24th January 2010 was a freelancer with the web site.

 

Siyatha, an independent TV and radio station which was located in a high security area in Colombo was set on fire on 30th July 2010  around 1.30 am causing millions of rupees of damage to the net work. According to the owners a 12 member gang entered the office and set it on fire. So far no arrests have been made and no investigation report has been made public.

 

NFR condemns this dastardly act as a yet another  crime against media freedom in Sri Lanka and hold the Government of  Sri Lanka responsible until the perpetrators are brought to the book.

 

Issued by

Steering Committee, NfR Sri Lanka

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