FMM Condemns stabbing of Thinakaran associate editor

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 08:54 GMT]
Colombo based media watchdog, the Free Media Movement, on Tuesday said it was dismayed to report a second stabbing of a journalist within a week. Five persons who entered the house of Suhaib M Kasim, the associate editor of the Sri Lankan state-owned Tamil daily Thinakaran, on Monday, forcibly took him to veranda and stabbed him in his abdomen, the FMM reported. Urging the Sri Lankan police to conduct an urgent and open investigation into the violent act, the media watchdog noted with concern that the police had arrested "arbitrary characters" to be produced in the courts when journalist from the SL state owned television broadcaster Rupavahini, Hemantha Mawalage, was stabbed a few days ago.

Full text of the press release issued by the FMM follows:

Associate Editor of Tamil newspaper stabbed

28th January 2008, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Free Media Movement (FMM) is shocked and dismayed to report another stabbing of a journalist. This is the second violent attack with deadly intent against a journalist reported within a week.

The Associate Editor of the state controlled Tamil daily Thinakaran, Suhaib M Kasim, was stabbed at his home in Colombo around 8.30pm on 28th January 2008. He was admitted to Colombo national hospital for treatment. Five people entered his house, forcibly took him to the veranda, and had stabbed him in his abdomen his wife told FMM.

The Chairman of Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited transferred Mr. Suhaib M Kasim from his post of Associate Editor last Saturday. Kasim had received death threats related to this transfer, close colleagues of his told the FMM. According to his family and colleagues he didnít have any other problems that could have led to this incident.

This incident once again demonstrates the vulnerability of journalists in Sri Lanka in a highly militarized society. Acts of violence against journalists now occur regularly and with complete impunity.

We request that the police conduct an urgent and open investigation into this incident and apprehend the attackers. We hope that unlike in the case of Hemantha Mawalage, the journalist from the State owned television broadcaster Rupavahini who was stabbed earlier in the week, the Police donít just arrest arbitrary characters and produce them in a court of law.

The FMM urges all those who criticise media and journalists in Sri Lanka to accept the right to hold differing and critical opinions and insist that the manner in which differences are resolved must be non-violent. This is a cornerstone of a civil democracy as is a free media, both of which are eroding rapidly in Sri Lanka.


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