Sri Lanka newspaper office attacked, five workers hurt

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 03, 2013 9:09 AM
Sri Lanka newspaper office attacked, five workers hurt

By N. Parameswaran

JAFFNA, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - An unidentified group of people attacked an office of a Tamil-language newspaper that is critical of the government in Sri Lanka and five workers injured, the publisher said on Wednesday.

The attack comes two weeks after the United Nations passed a resolution calling on the government to address human rights violations, including the intimidation of journalists.

The attack on the Uthayan newspaper office was the fourth attack on the media since January in Sri Lanka's former war zone in the north of the country.

"Six people with masks attacked the office, vehicles and computers," said the publisher of Uthayan, E. Saravanapavan, who is a legislator for the Tamil National Alliance party, which was linked to the former ethnic Tamil separatist rebels.

Five workers including a branch manager were hurt, he said.

Police and government officials were not immediately available for comment.

Political violence has eased since Sri Lanka's army crushed the Tamil rebellion in 2009, but international human rights groups say rule of law problems persist, including abductions and attacks on the media and government critics.

No arrests have been made in connection with the three earlier attacks on the media this year in the north, where a civil administration has yet to be fully restored since the end of the war.

"This is not only a threat to media freedom, it's a threat to the whole country. The government should take responsibility for this," said Sunil Jayasekara, of the Media Movement in Sri Lanka, press freedom group.

(Additional reporting by Ranga Sirilala and Shihar Aneez in COLOMBO; Editing by Robert Birsel)