OCTOBER 16, 2005
October 18, 2005

Sunday Leader, Midweek Leader, IrudinaATTACKED

At around 8 p.m., as many as 10 men entered a building in Ratmalana, south of the capital Colombo, where the printing press is housed for the English-language weeklies Sunday Leader and Midweek Leader, and the Sinhala-language weekly Irudina, Sunday Leader Editor-in-Chief Lasantha Wickramatunga told CPJ. The armed men set fire to bundles of newspaper in the printing offices and warned the factory manager to stop publishing them, according to Wickramatunga. The armed men hit the factory manager and stole his mobile phone and some cash.

The fire was doused before it could do serious damage to the printing press.

Wickramatunga said that a police report was filed and the newspapers planned to continue publishing. He told CPJ that he was aware of no threats prior to Sunday’s incident.

The Sunday Leader and Irudina are known for their critical reporting on the government. CPJ has documented several threats and attacks in recent years against the Sunday Leader editor, who requested police protection in May after a government official publicly accused him of being a “terrorist.”

The Sunday Leader recently published a series investigating allegations that the prime minister had misappropriated funds intended for tsunami relief.