Five main media organisations are expressing their shock at the assault and attempted kidnap of the journalist Namal Perera who is also the acting head of the advocacy division of the Sri Lanka Press Institute.
In a media release, they say that Namal Perera, a defence correspondent and defence analyst, has been responsible for co-ordinating several recent media protests.
Namal Perera and his friend, Mahendra Ratnaweera, working for the British High Commission in Colombo, were driving between Narahenpita and Kirulapone in the evening of June 30th when they were blocked by a white van and assaulted.
Namal Perera and Mahendra Ratnaweera told the media organisation that they were followed by a motor cycle before being blocked and then attacked them breaking the glasses of the vehicle they were travelling.
“It is you (Namal) we want to kidnap”, told the attackers while assaulting, they said.
The media organisations said that they are condemning this assault as another development of the continuing oppression of media and journalists.
“We do not consider this an isolated incident”, they said.
On the day of the attack, by noon, two suspected motorbike riders in army uniform had come near the Sri Lanka Press Institute and gone back, Institute’s security has reported.
Similarly on May 27th, a group people in army uniform had come to the Institute and inquired about the staff working in the Institute, which the Army spokesman refused by saying no team from the army was sent there.
Namal Perera had filed a complaint at the Narahenpita Police Station that after journalist Keith Noyahr’s kidnapping, suspected motorcyclists were seen near his house, the Media organisations say.
‘Dinamina’ news report
The Media organizations say that a news report on the 23rd of June in the state owned ‘Dinamina’ newspaper which said that the Press Institute was involved in sending LTTE members abroad is an attempt to create the background for this attack.
Appealing all those democratic forces and citizens to protest against this oppression on media, the five media organization – Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, Free Media Movement, Sri Lanka Tamil Journalists Association, and Federation of Media Employees Trade Union, say that it is a challenge before the newly formed ministerial panel to investigate this incident and reveal the culprits.