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"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Democracy Continues, Sri Lanka Style...

Arson Attack on Sinhala Opposition Sri Lanka Sunday Leader
- Multi Ethnic Plural Society?

[See also "Sri Lanka has in President Rajapakse a strong leader to help fashion the southern consensus" - U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake 1 March 2007 International Relations: Our Friendly Dictators - "Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch." -  US President Franklin D. Roosevelt" ]

Mahinda Rajapakse
Sri Lanka



Augusto Pinochet

Anastasio Somoza

Hassan II

New York, November 21, 2007—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned an arson attack on a publishing house in Sri Lanka today that destroyed the printing press of three newspapers critical of the government.

At least 12 unidentified masked men stripped publishing staff of their cell phones at gunpoint before starting the blaze and fleeing the scene in the early hours of the morning as one of the three papers went to press, according to Free Media Movement spokesman Sunanda Deshapriya. The press in Ratmalana, a suburb of the capital of Colombo, was located in a high security zone tightly controlled by Sri Lankan government security forces.

The English-language Morning Leader and Sunday Leader, and the Sinhala-language weekly Irudina are known for their critical stances towards Sri Lankan authorities. Lasantha Wickrematunga, editor of the Sunday Leader, told journalists he believed the government was behind the attack, according to news reports.

“We are appalled by this act of violence against three independent Sri Lankan publications,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “It’s time official inquiries into press attacks in Sri Lanka yielded some results, to counteract the message that critical newspapers can be threatened with impunity.”

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered an inquiry into the attack, but results of similar inquiries launched in the past two years have yet to be made public, Deshapriya told CPJ. An arson attempt against the same publishing house was prevented in 2005.

The three papers will find another private printing press and continue to publish, Deshapriya said.

CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.

Committee to Protect Journalists
Fax: (212) 465‑9568
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA

Contact: Bob Dietz
Telephone: (212) 465-1004 ex 140
e-mail: [email protected] 


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