(Photos) Journalists condemn attacks

[TamilNet, Friday, 07 April 2000, 09:01 GMT]
elmo_fernando.jpgThe Vanni Journalists Association has condemned recent attacks on journalists, a news statement said. On Sunday a grenade was thrown at the house of a senior journalist in Batticaloa Mr Aiyathurai Nadesan, and yesterday, BBC's Sinhala Service correspondent Elmo Fernando was assaulted in Colombo. The association has urged the government to take immediate steps to prevent violence acts on media personnel.

Following is the full text of the release:

"Media personnel are not armed men. As such it is the moral duty of all democratic governments to take prompt steps to prevent violent acts on media personnel and to punish those responsible.

Although several days have elapsed since the grenade attack on the home of senior journalist A. Nadesan in Batticaloa, which is situated in the high security zone within the area controlled by the SLA, we do not know whether the law enforcement authority has taken positive steps to arrest the culprits.

"Before the tension prevailed among journalists following the Batticaloa grenade attack. Elmo Fernando Correspondent of BBC Sandesaya (Sinhala Language Service) in Colombo had been assaulted at a demonstration organized by the Buddhist priests, whose duty is preaching ahimsa.

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"Earlier also there were several incidents of intimidation against media personnel. Although the government had promised security to them, the attacks are continuing. Government authorities are not taking positive steps to provide better protection to the media personnel. Vanni Journalists Association severely condemns violence attacks against media personnel.

We, the Vanni Journalists Association, call on the government to take immediate concrete steps to stop all violent attacks against media personnel in the country."

The press statement is signed by its President Dinasena Rathugamage and Secretary P.Manikavasagam.

Meanwhile several hundred people, including a large number of journalists demonstrated in the Batticaloa this morning, demanding the government investigates the attacks on the journalists. Mr.Pararajasingham, M.P. for the Batticaloa was among the protestors.

The protest march started at Gandhi Square around 10 a.m. A memorandum was also sent to the Sri Lankan President.

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