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Sri Lankan journalist kidnapped, beaten up

June 02, 2009 13:56 IST

A senior Sri Lankan journalist, known for his anti-government views, was kidnapped and brutally beaten up near his house in the Colombo suburb of Nugegoda, stated a BBC report on Tuesday.

Poddala Jayanth, the general secretary of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, is a vocal campaigner for freedom of the media, said the report.

Jayanth is currently recovering at the Colombo National Hospital. His assailants remain unidentified, said the BBC.

The Sri Lankan government has faced mounting criticism for the increasing number of attacks against journalists and the inaction of the authorities against the culprits.

Journalists who criticise the government and its actions have received death threats and warnings in various forms.

Incidentally, an armed group had tried to kidnap Jayantha from his residence earlier. The incidence prompted him to leave the island nation and spend some time abroad, said the report.

While many journalists have fled the nation, several have been killed. According to government figures, nine journalists have been killed and over 25 assaulted since 2006, stated the BBC.

Editor of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickramatunga, who was known for his vocal anti-establishment stand, was gunned down by unidentified assailants in Colombo in January this year.

At least 20 journalists have left the country because of death threats. Sri Lanka is considered to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.