Seven journalists flee Sri Lanka
Following the killing of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge seven “prominent” Sri Lankan journalists have left the country, according to Tamil.net. In addition, another journalist and his wife have been attacked in the district of Gampha,
Media reports said an editor of a pro-government Sinhala weekly ‘Rivira’, Upali Tennakoon, and his wife were severely assaulted by a group that arrived in motorbikes Friday morning while he was driving his car to work on Kandy Road, Imbulgoda in Gampaha district.
Mr. Upali Tennakoon and his wife were admitted to National Hospital, Colombo. Tennakoon was earlier the editor of the Sinhala daily ‘Divina’ of the Upali group. Dinesh Gunewardena, the government chief whip and Sri Lankan minister of Urban Development told SL Parliament Tuesday that nine journalists were killed and 27 assaulted since 2006. link
In March 2008 a group of 45 Sri Lankan journalists joined with the International Federation of Journalists to voice their concerns for the safety of journalists in the island nation.
UPDATE: Writing on the BBC News website Saroj Pathirana, of the BBC Sinhala service, rounds up different points of view from the Sri Lankan journalistic community,
“Sri Lanka is not a place for journalists any more. This was the message I was getting again and again during my conversations with my journalist friends in the capital, Colombo,” Ethirajan Anbarasan says. link
UPDATE: Reuters has more from Upali Thennakoon, the 28th journalist to have been attacked since 2006,
“While I was trying to enter the main road, a person came towards me and attacked by car’s windscreen. Then others came closer to my car and started attacking me,” he said from a hospital stretcher while he was being taken for a brain scan. “They had a knife, iron rods, and sticks. They stabbed me, attacked me,” Thennakoon said. link