Democracy Continues, Sri Lanka Style...
Armed men enter Colombo weekly press, set fire, warn
TamilNet, October 17, 2005
A group of seven unidentified men, armed with batons
and swords, entered the printing press of the English weekly, the
Sunday Leader, published from Colombo at around 8:00 p.m. on Sunday
and threatened the employees. The intruders set fire to bundles of
papers. The editor of the weekly Mr. Lasantha Wickramathunga said
that the manger of the press was assaulted was warned of dire
consequences if he continued to print the paper. The Sunday Leader
has been a critical voice towards the governments in Colombo from
the time the paper started publication in the mid 90s.
The printing press is located near Maliban Junction on
The Free Media Movement (FMM) Monday issued the following press
"Free Media Movement condemns the arson attack, which took last
night on printing press of the Sunday Leader and Irudina weeklies.
This attack threatened not only press freedom but also free and fair
election environment in the country. FMM as a co convener of Centre
Monitoring Election Violence is very much concerned that violence
against media should not be allowed to continue in the context of
upcoming presidential election on 17th November.
"A group of seven eight persons armed with clubs and knives entered
the premises of the printing press at Rathmalana, Colombo around
8.00 pm on 16th October 2005, threatened the manager of dire
consequences if he continue to print the newspapers and set fire to
bundles of returned newspapers. The workers were able to extinguish
the fire thereby saving the printing machine, according to the
"News papers the Sunday Leader and Irudina are very critical towards
the government and exponents of opposition political views. As a
press freedom organisation that stands for media freedom as well as
plurality and diversity of media FMM defends the rights of privately
and publicly owned media emphasising the need for ethical journalism
at all times.
"The Sunday Leader newspaper and its editor Mr. Lasantha
Wikramatunga has been harassed and threatened many times during the
last few years. FMM views this attack as a continuation of same
trend and request the authorities to initiate an impartial inquiry
in order to bring the suspects to book. It is the responsibility of
the government to ensure that media freedom prevails during the
period running up to presidential election on 17th November."