Sri Lankan media activist abducted, assaulted and warned

June 2nd, 2009 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, June 2 (DPA) A journalist and media activist abducted and assaulted in Sri Lanka’s capital said Tuesday he was warned not to get involved in any more protests related to media freedom.
The journalist, Poddala Jayantha, was recovering at the national hospital in Colombo after being beaten up overnight Monday by unknown abductors.

He told journalists that the main motive for the abduction appeared to be to threaten him and keep him away from media rights activities.

Jayantha, who is the secretary of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, the main group representing journalists in the country, was abducted as he was walking home and bundled into a van.

“I was assaulted along the way at the back of a van. I was blindfolded and gagged. They cut my hair and choked it down my throat,” Jayantha said.

“They ridiculed me about the protest campaigns I have been involved in. After choking me with my own hair they told me to shout as I do during the street protest we carry out,” he said.

His association has been the most vociferous organisation in the protest campaigns carried out against other attacks on journalists, including the murder of an editor of an anti-government newspaper early this year.

Several journalists were also beaten up, threatened and some of them fled the country during the height of the war between government troops and Tamil rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Foreign journalists were given limited access to the country during the military campaign and their visa requests were turned down.

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