Leading journalist Podala Jayantha attacked in Colombo

[TamilNet, Monday, 01 June 2009, 21:38 GMT]
Unidentified persons arriving in a white van forcibly took away Podala Jayantha, the Secretary of Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA) in Nugegoda in Colombo, heavily assaulted him, before throwing him out of the van at Ambuldeniya junction in Nugegoda, Monday, sources in Colombo said. Inspector General of Police (IGP), in an interview to state television Friday, had accused certain journalists being paid by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, (LTTE) and Podala Jayantha’s photograph was telecast in the interview along with some other journalists.

Last year, Podala Jayantha and Sanath Balasuriya, the president of SLWJA, were summoned by Defence Secretary, Gothabaya Rajapakse and warned both for campaigning for media freedom and condemning the government’s various actions against journalists, the sources added.

Podala Jayantha has actively participated in all the protests demonstrations against the government calling for freedom of the media and media democracy, the sources further said.

Podala Jayantha had been warned many times by the police and Sri Lanka Army (SLA) intelligence personnel for his reports condemning the government.

Podala Jayantha was the main person who led and organized many protest demonstrations launched by five media organizations including SLWJA, Free Media Movement, Ceylon Tamil Journalists’ Association against the government’s violation of media freedom.

Eight leading journalists including Sanath Balasuriya, the president of SLWJA had fled the country due to threats to their lives by SLA intelligence unit personnel.

Podala Jayantha, aged 45, works for Lake House, state owned media.

 

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