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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

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Wijeya Pariganaka




FMM condemns attack on weeklies
Free Media Movement condemns the arson attack, last night on the Sunday Leader and Irudina weeklies. This attack threatened not only press freedom but also a free and fair election environment in the country.

The FMM as a co convener of Centre for 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 or eight persons armed with clubs and knives entered the premises of the printing press at Ratmalana around 8.00 pm on October 16, threatened the manager of dire consequences if he continued 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 management.

The Sunday Leader and Irudina are very critical towards the government and exponents of opposition political views.

As an organisation that stands for media freedom as well as plurality and diversity of the media FMM defends the rights of privately and publicly owned media emphasizing 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.

The FMM views this attack as a continuation of the same trend and requests 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 at all times.

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