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Page last updated at 17:55 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 18:55 UK

TV journalist killed in Sri Lanka

Journalists protest in Colombo
Sri Lankan journalists have long complained of government harassment

A journalist working for a private TV channel in Sri Lanka has been killed in the northern Jaffna peninsula, company officials say.

The firm, Maharaja Television (MTV), says P Devakumaran and an associate died in the northern Navanthurai area of the peninsula.

MTV News Director Susil Kindelpitiya said that Mr Devakumaran was on his way home when he was assaulted.

Sri Lanka's army is confronting Tamil Tiger rebels in the north.

'Threats'

Meanwhile media organisations have complained about high levels of government harassment of reporters.

Several organisations have protested against remarks reportedly made by the Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksha.

He has been accused of threatening independent reporting of the war in the north of the country.

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

In a statement, five media groups said Mr Rajapaksha had summoned two senior journalists, Sanath Balasooriya and Poddala Jayantha, who had been protesting against the abduction and beating of a colleague, Keith Noyahr.

The media groups said the men had been told that criticism of the armed forces and military leaders was unacceptable in the state-owned press, and that thinly veiled threats to their lives had been made.

Last week, Mr Noyahr, deputy editor with the English weekly The Nation, was abducted in Colombo.

His supporters in the Free Media Movement said his assault was motivated by his criticism of the government's war against the Tamil Tigers.

Campaigners for press freedom say the country is becoming one of the most dangerous places for journalists.




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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