Protests planned over attack on journalist

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 17 February 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The Free Media Movement (FMM) and other human rights and media organisations are to hold a demonstration tomorrow at 12.00 noon at Lipton Circus, Colombo, protesting against the harrowing ordeal of senior Sri Lankan journalist Iqbal Athas in the hands of unidentified armed men, said media sources.

The demonstration comes after almost a week of protests in the privately owned media and organisations promoting the freedom of expression, including the highly respected Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the Editors' Guild of Sri Lanka.

The Minister of Media Mangala Samaraweera issued an unqualified public apology on Saturday to Athas.

Sittings had to be suspended when the opposition United National Party's (UNP) Sarath Kohongage took up the matter in the Sri Lankan Parliament during a debate on a bill today.

Iqbal Athas was threatened at gun point on Thursday night by unidentified gunmen.

Speculation is rife that the persons who broke into his house were Sri Lanka Air Force personnel.

It is believed that the Air Force top brass, incensed by Athas' exposure of incompetent leadership and corruption, had tried to silence him with threats.


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