Image: Navy Commander attacking journalist Roshan Gunasekara.
There will be no further official investigation of the attack on a journalist in Hambantota by the Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravi Wijegunaratne, according to Director General, Department of Government Information Ranga Kalansooriya.
Kalansooriya told the Sunday Island that the victim, a local correspondent to the Island and Divaina newspapers, Roshan Gunasekara, had indicated that no inquiry or investigation was necessary when officials of the Department had visited him to record a statement.Gunasekera was subjected to verbal and physical abuse by the Navy Commander while covering a protest by workers. The Navy, at the time, was trying to open the port which was blocked by the protestors.
Kalansooriya said, however, that the Defence Ministry had investigated the matter and had submitted a report to President Maithripala Sirisena. He said that he was unaware of the findings therein.
The Navy Commander’s actions came in for wide condemnation locally and internationally, with rights activists organizing subsequent protests outside the Fort Railway Station.
The International Federation of Journalists issuing a statement condemned the attack and demanded immediate action against the commander, observing that such incidents if allowed to pass “not only undermines press freedom and the rights of the media but also has a chilling effect on free press.”