While Sri Lanka's armed forces battle Tamil rebels in the north, sections of the country's media are embroiled in a fight to pursue their mission as journalists. Three unrelated events have brought the issue into sharp focus. On March 14, Anurasiri Hettige, an employee of the state television corporation, Rupavahini, was attacked with an iron club as he waited for a bus in a Colombo suburb. Media rights groups link the attack to an incident on December 27, when minister Mervyn Silva stormed into Rupavahini and abused staff over a news programme.
On the same day that Hettige was attacked, an unidentified gang stormed the home of journalist M Parameshwari in Gampola, central Sri Lanka. Parameshwari had spent three months in detention last year after being held on charges of helping Tamil separatist. She was released after the authorities failed to prove their case. An equally disturbing incident was the arrest of five media workers for links with 'Outreachsl.com' a recently launched website focusing on affairs related to the ethnic conflict.
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