August 30, 2005
Posted: November 8, 2005
Staff and offices of the Tamil-language newspaper Sudar Oli came under a spate of attacks. On August 29, two men lobbed grenades into the building housing its printing press, killing a guard and injuring two other staff members. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse condemned the attack as an assault on freedom of expression. On August 21 two grenades were tossed into the paper’s advertising office but failed to explode.
On August 30 two parliamentary reporters were assaulted while they waited for a bus, according to the Colombo-based Free Media Movement (FMM) and international news reports. One was seriously injured. A photographer was set upon and robbed on August 23 while covering a rally of the People’s Liberation Front (JVP) to protest killings by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). JVP activists turned the photographer over to the police on suspicion of being an LTTE member. He was released the next day.
Sudar Oli and its Jaffna-based sister publication Uthayan have come under attack by both LTTE and anti-LTTE forces in Sri Lanka’s civil conflict. A top leader of the JVP issued a public condemnation of the newspaper, accusing it of having LTTE ties. Increased political violence has put Tamil journalists at particular risk.