Net working for rights, a network for media freedom and human rights in Sri Lanka condemns in strongest terms the dastardly armed and arson attack on Uthayan news paper in Jaffna, which took place at dawn today. This is a yet another major blow to independent news paper culture in Jaffna and freedom of expression rights in Sri Lanka.
According to NfR sources in Jaffna around 4.30 am shooting randomly, a three armed men forced their way in to the Uthayan Jaffna. At that time the office was full of news paper delivery personal and tens of thousands of news papers were ready to be transported.
The staff and delivery personal had to run for their life. The armed gang then set fire to the news paper bundled to be distributed and newspaper rolls in the printing section. They had shot and damaged the web printing machine also. The whole printing section had caught fire, according to initial reports. The damage run in to hundreds of thousands of rupees, a staff member told NfR SriLanka.
A senior journalists of the Uthayan Group told NfR that armed gang who attacked the Newspaper office must be belongs either to state security forces or armed gangs sponsored by them. Jaffna is a garrison town where military and police presence is threateningly visible. He reminded that out of dozens of attacks that has directed against the Uthayan and its employees over the last few years, not a single attack has been resolved and culprits brought to the book. This incident too will not be properly investigated to a completion, he predicted.
Expressing his anger, the owner of the Uthayan news paper group Mr. E. Saravanpavan, M.P. told that whatever intimidations and harassments unleashed against the Uthayan, the newspaper will continue to publish informing the Tamil people. He is expressed fear that this attack could be a prelude to media suppression that may take place during the Northern Provincial election due in September 2013.
NfR SriLanka urges all democratic forces in SriLanka to strongly condemn this attack and show their solidarity with the besieged independent media in Jaffna.
- NfR Sri Lanka