Rupavahini producer injured in knife attack

[TamilNet, Saturday, 26 January 2008, 12:56 GMT]
Lal Hemantha Mawalage, news producer at state-run Television station, Rupavahini, has been admitted to the Colombo General Hospital after being attacked with machete and knives by unknown assailants at 11:30 p.m. Friday while walking in Athurugiriya in Colombo, sources in Colombo said. Mr Mawalage suffered injuries to both hands and body, according to his relatives. The attackers are suspected to be allied to non-cabinet Minister of Labour Mervin Silva who was involved in an altercation at Rupavahini on 26 December.

Informed sources said Minister Silva was irked by the actions of Mr Mawalage who had allegedly commended his fellow journalists at Rupavahini for helping to defend his news editor collegue, T.M.G Chandrasekara, when the Minister attacked him.

The Minister and his security detail reportedly had earlier went amok against T.M.G Chandrasekara for "failing to broadcast" a video footage of his appearance in a meeting in Matara.

Mr. Mervyn Silva, beaten by the media workers, was later freed by the Police security out of the Rupawahini premises located in the high security Bauddhaloka Mawatha after a mediation attempt by non-cabinet minister of media, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, failed.

The Sri Lankan minister is already known for racial slurs against the Tamils and for verbally abusing and assaulting journalists.

An independent media watchdog based in Geneva, in a press release issued in December said, Sri Lanka ranked third worldwide in number of journalists killed in 2007 in line of duty, behind Iraq and Somalia. "Sri Lanka ranks third, seven journalists killed this year against four last year due to the intensity of the civil war," the Geneva watchdog said.


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