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Sri Lanka media activist assaulted-police

[Reuters, Monday, 1 June 2009 21:31 No Comment]

sri_lanka_media_freedom_ejx105 Unknown attackers abducted and beat a Sri Lankan journalist and media rights activist on Monday and left him bloodied and lying in a marshy area, police said.

Poddala Jayantha, secretary-general of the Sri Lankan Working Journalists Association, is the latest journalist to face violence in a nation with a long history of abuse and killings of media workers.

"Poddala Jayantha was abducted…and the attackers left him after he was assaulted. Police are doing the investigations," police spokesman Senior Superintendent of Police Ranjith Gunasekara said.

Jayantha was admitted to Colombo National Hospital. He was conscious and was being treated, hopsital director Dr. Hector Weerasinghe told Reuters.

This week, government officials in the state media have warned they were investigating journalists they believe were on the payroll of the Tamil Tiger rebels, whom the military declared defeated on May 18 after a 25-year war.

Press freedom groups have sharply criticised the government for what they say is a failure to protect journalists from attacks and the lack of prosecutions against those who do so.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has vowed to find those guilty and his government denies quashing press freedom.

[Full Coverage]

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