Reporters Without Borders is outraged by an attack by about 12 armed men on the premises of media that are part of the Voice of Asia group – including Siyatha TV, Siyatha FM, Real Radio and Vettri FM – in Colombo in the early hours of 30 July. Two employees were injured and firebombs caused extensive damage.
Watch an exclusive Reporters Without Borders video of this attack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm4rLgPKH_o)
“How is such an attack possible in the centre of the capital in a country that is under such tight military control?” Reporters Without Borders asked. “This incident shows that the authorities are either incapable of assuring the safety of the media or lack the political will. We call on President Mahindra Rajapaksa to order an impartial investigation with the aim of identifying those responsible for this attack without delay.”
The raid on the Voice of Asia media was carried out at about 1:30 a.m. on 30 July by around 12 masked men although the building is supposed to be under permanent protection. The assailants forced employees to kneel, and hit two of them, before throwing Molotov cocktails that started a fire.
A pro-government newspaper recently accused the Voice of Asia media of secretly defending the cause of Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the leading opposition candidate in last January’s presidential election. The newspaper produced no evidence to support the claim.
In an interview for Reporters Without Borders, Real Radio editor Kirk Abraham described the attack and stressed that the station was determined to continue despite what had happened. Watch the interview with Abraham: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm4rLgPKH_o
Sirasa TV, a station belonging to the MTV/MBC group, was the target of a similar attack in Colombo in January 2009 (http://en.rsf.org/sri-lanka-government-urged-to-punish-06-01-2009,29896....).