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gov. dodges call for action

Friday, July 04,2008 
COLOMBO: The government Thursday dodged a barrage of questions from angry journalists as to why no action was being taken against Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who has repeatedly warned them against exposing shortcomings in the conduct of military operations against the LTTE.
Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa questioned, at Thursday’s Cabinet press briefing held in the Parliamentary Complex, as to why Gotabhaya’s alleged comments that he nor the Defence Ministry should be held responsible if some journalists who are reporting the war were harmed, was not being probed, did not give a direct answer.
Yapa said that it was not correct to link Rajapaksa’s alleged threat with recent physical attacks on several journalists and media personnel. “I do not think such a nexus can be established. According to what I have heard Mr. Rajapaksa had asked journalists not to report in a manner that would help the LTTE.”
The President and Secretary of the Working Journalists Association, have alleged that Rajapaksa summoned them to his office recently and warned them in the presence of Lake House Chairman Bandula Padmakumara, that if anything were to happen to some of the journalists who are reporting on the war, they should not blame him or the Defence Ministry.
The most recent attacks on journalists and media personnel include the assault of ‘The Nation’ Newspaper’s Deputy Editor Keith Noyar and employees of the Sri Lanka Press Institute Namal Perera and British High Commission Mahendra Ratnaweera respectively, while they were returning home after work.

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