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AIR STRIKE KILLS FIVE AT REBEL RADIO STATION

Sri Lankan military jets bombed the radio station of the Tamil Tigers last week, killing five media workers, report Free Media Movement (FMM) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

An air strike hit the radio station Voice of Tigers (VOT) in the northern province of Vanni, just two hours before the broadcast of an annual speech by the rebels' leader. Five editorial staff and four civilians were killed. Broadcasts were able to continue with the help of a clandestine transmitter.

FMM and IFJ deplored the attack. FMM says the attack on the station was unprecedented, and a direct breach of the Geneva Convention, which requires the military to treat media workers as civilians. "No government in the past has attacked the station as it is a civilian office, not a military installation," says FMM.

According to the International News Safety Institute (INSI), the all-time high of 168 deaths of journalists and media workers recorded in 2006 was exceeded because of the air strike, making 2007 the deadliest year on record for the industry.

Visit these links:
- FMM: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/88032/
- IFJ: http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?Index=5553&Language=EN
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=24535
- INSI: http://www.newssafety.com/casualties/2007.htm
- UNESCO, "Director-General condemns bombing": http://tinyurl.com/2yv8lm
(4 December 2007)

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