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Page last updated at 12:14 GMT, Friday, 23 May 2008 13:14 UK

Journalist in Sri Lanka kidnapped

The bruised face of Keith Noyahr
The bruised face of Keith Noyahr (Photo: lankadissent.com)

Journalists have protested in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, after a colleague was abducted and beaten up.

Keith Noyahr, deputy editor with the English weekly The Nation, was abducted on Thursday night, a rights group says.

A day later, he was dropped off near his residence, badly beaten up and bruised, the Free Media Movement says.

His assault was motivated by his criticism of the government's war against Tamil Tigers rebels, the group has alleged.

Critical

The protesting journalists carried placards showing Mr Noyahr's bruised and bandaged head.

"There is no other reason for this latest attack against a journalist than his independent writing and analysis of the war in the north, if that is reason at all," the Free Media Movement (FMM) said in a statement.

Mr Noyahr has been critical of the military.

"This is not just a violation of the freedom of expression and another significant blow to media freedom," the FMM said in a statement on their website.

Journalists protest in Colombo
Protesters demanded an end to attacks on journalists

The police say they have set up three teams to investigate the assault.

Sri Lankan military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told the BBC that although many journalists had criticised the army, none of them had been attacked or abducted by the military.

He denied that the security forces had any involvement in Mr Noyahr's beating.

The abduction came shortly after Sri Lanka's bid to be elected to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva failed.

Campaigners for press freedom say Sri Lanka, which is caught in a bloody conflict between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels, is becoming one of the most dangerous places for journalists to operate in.

The situation for reporters is said to have deteriorated due to the worsening violence and unofficial censorship.


SEE ALSO
Sri Lankan journalists detained
12 Mar 08 |  South Asia
Sri Lanka army claims more gains
07 Mar 08 |  South Asia
Ex-Tamil Tigers win local polls
11 Mar 08 |  South Asia
Tamil MP is killed in Sri Lanka
06 Mar 08 |  South Asia
Country profile: Sri Lanka
06 Mar 08 |  Country profiles

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