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Fourth Muslim journalist assaulted by ruling party supporters in Kathankudi, journalists threaten strike over police indifference to anti-media attacks

(FMM/IFEX) - The following is an 8 June 2008 FMM press release:

Post election violence in Eastern province; Fourth journalist attacked in Batticoloa

The FMM notes with disappointment that in continuing post-election violence in the eastern province, a fourth journalist in Kathankudi, Batticoloa district has been intimidated. It condemns all these attacks in the strongest terms.

In the latest attack, on 5 June 2008 journalist M.A.C. Jalees was assaulted by supporters of the ruling political party and his camera was taken away. Earlier this year, journalists T.L.M. Joufer Khan, M.S.M. Noordeen and Moulavi S.M.M. Musthapha were either threatened or assaulted in the same area. All these journalists belong to the Muslim community.

As a non-violent protest against continuing violence against journalists in the area, the Kathankudi Journalists Forum distributed thousands of handbills soon after the Friday prayers in and around Kathankudi. The handbill, which condemns the tactics of intimidating journalists, warned that if these intimidations are not halted all journalists in Kathankudi will stop work.

The handbill was signed by the Kathankudi Media Forum (KMF). Journalists T.L.M. Joufer Khan, M.S.M. Noordeen, A.L.M. Fazlulhaq, Moulavi S.M.M. Musthapha, M.I. Rahmathullah, and M.A.C. Jalees, who also signed the handbill, state that they have been psychologically affected due to continuous threats and assaults on media personnel.

Investigations by the Kathankudi police have not resulted in any arrests or convictions so far. FMM expresses its fears that police may not be taking any action as these attacks are linked to a powerful, ruling party politician in the area. As FMM noted in one of its previous alerts, the head of the Kathankudi police has shown clear bias towards this politician and the ruling party. He did not take any meaningful action to stop wide-scale election malpractices and violence that took place on the 10 May PC election in Kathankudi.

The FMM holds the ruling party responsible for these anti-media activities and views these tactics as part of increasing suppression of freedom of expression rights in Sri Lanka.

For further information on the Khan (Jawfarkhan) case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/93856

For further information on the Noordeen and Musthapha (Mustafa) cases, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/90841

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