RSF says concerned over attacks on Tamil media

[TamilNet, Monday, 13 December 2004, 21:12 GMT]
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Monday voiced concern over threats to the news media in the war-torn north and east of Sri Lanka after a Tamil-language daily newspaper and the premises of a radio and TV group were the targets of violent attacks two days apart. RSF said in a statement that the attacks not only posed a threat to journalists but also denied the public reasonable access to news and information. It called for thorough investigations to identify and punish those responsible.

The RSF statement comes in the wake of two grenade attacks on the Thinakkural regional office in Batticaloa recently. The studio of the popular Tamil TV station ‘Shakthi’ was attacked and damaged by persons suspected to be from paramilitaries working with the Sri Lankan armed forces in Jaffna.

Mr. C. Chandraprakash, Thinakkural correspondent for Batticaloa was threatened in November by unidentified gunmen suspected to be members of a paramilitary working with the Sri Lankan armed forces in the east.

Following is the RSF statement:

“The more recent of the two attacks was on 8 December, when a grenade was thrown at the Colombo-based Tamil-language daily Thinakkural's office in the eastern city of Batticaloa.

It caused severe damage to the rear of the building but no one was hurt, although three employees were present at the time. No arrests have been made.

Batticaloa was where journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan was murdered on 31 May. The city has seen a lot of violence, especially since a group lead by V. Muraleetharan, also known as Karuna, broke away from the Tamil Tigers (LTTE). Nadesan's murder was blamed on Karuna's group.

A detailed report on the threats against journalists in eastern Sri Lanka was published by Reporters Without Borders on 13 July and is available in three languages (English, French and Sinhalese) on the organisation's website (www.rsf.org).

The earlier attack was on 6 December in the far-northern city of Jaffna, where around five thugs attacked the premises of the MTV/MBC broadcasting group, damaging all the equipment. The assailants not been identified.

MTV/MBC is a network of radio and TV stations that broadcast in Sri Lanka's three languages, Sinhalese, Tamil and English”.

 

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