PM regrets assault on journos, police chief to take action


COLOMBO –Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday (9) expressed regret over the assault on a television crew in front of his residence by Police and Special Task Force personnel, while Police Chief Chandana Wickremeratne vowed to take immediate action.

Four journalists from Sri Lanka’s Newsfirst channel  and two staffers were brutally assaulted and hospitalized, the TV network said.

“The Prime Minister expresses grave regret over the assault on journalists who are covering the ongoing protests, by security personnel,” a statement from prime minister’s office said.

Noting, “Freedom of media is paramount to Democracy in Sri Lanka,” the statement quoted the prime minister as requesting both the security forces and the protesters to act with restraint to prevent any violence and ensure the safety of the public.

Meanwhile, official sources said Police Chief Wickremeratne will suspend at least four officers who are found to have been involved in the assault.

Staff Reporter Sarasi Pieris, Cameraman Varuna Sampath, U. D. Sindujan from the Tamil news division and Janitha Mendis from online new have been assaulted, the news channel said. Two others who had come to assist the four journalists had also been brutally assaulted.

All are now being treated at the National Hospital Colombo..

The team was covering a protest in front of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s private residence in Colombo. journalist Sandun Arosha said he and his cameraman were also assaulted.

Samagi Jana Balawegaya legislator Eran Wickremeratne also condemned the assault.

Several media rights bodies have also condemned the attack and called on the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.


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