Sign up for weekly updates

Two MTV network journalists assaulted

(FMM/IFEX) - 5 February 2010 - We five media organisations, the Free Media Movement (FMM), Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA), Federation of Media Employees' Trade Unions (FMETU), Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA) and Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMMF), are seriously concerned that attacks against media and journalists in the post election period are still continuing, with two journalists from the MTV television network becoming the latest victims.

On 2 February 2010, Rizwi Maharoof, an Anuradhapura correspondent for Sirasa TV, the Sinhala language channel of the MTV network, was severely assaulted. The assault took place when he was at the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital around 11:00 p.m. covering a shooting incident which had taken place in Ratmalwetiya, Eppawala. On 4 February, police informed a court that Maharoof's video camera worth Rs. 200,000 (approx. US$1,750) had been taken away by the assailants after they threw it on the ground. His mobile phone had also been taken by the attackers, the police informed the court, according to information published on the television network's website.

On 3 February 2010, journalist Shri Ranga of Shakthi TV, the Tamil language channel of the network was assaulted. Ranga, the host of Shakthi TV's Minnel programme, was assaulted and injured while he was in the town of Hatton taking part in a discussion on problems faced by the people of the hill country, according to the MTV website. Ranga has been threatened on several occasions by various groups, but to date no one has been charged by the police.

On both occasions the assaults took place in front of police officers. It is the duty of the police to protect the media and journalists, who are the watchdogs of democracy. We would like to emphasise that the police's inability or unwillingness to investigate crimes against the media and journalists has become one of the reasons for increased violence against journalists in Sri Lanka.

Politicians, their henchmen, various paramilitary groups and the members of the security forces have taken the law into their own hands by threatening and intimidating the media and journalists in Sri Lanka.

Our organisations are concerned that this situation has become a day-to-day occurrence in the country. As we have repeatedly pointed out, it is the responsibility of the authorities to stop this anti-media violence in the post election period. We urge police to take action against those who are responsible for these attacks and send a clear signal that there will be no impunity for crimes against the media and journalists. That is the only way to stop this violent trend.

Latest Tweet:

Thread: In the run-up to #Chile's #UPR32 next week, we supported our members @DerechosDigital and @PrivacyInt, alon…

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.