The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the mob attack on the offices of the MTV/MBC broadcast channels in Braybroke Place in Colombo on March 22.
The office building, which houses the news rooms of three channels – MTV, Sirasa and Shakti TV – was attacked by a mob which pelted bricks and other objects at the premises before they were forced to flee the scene. Media reports have indicated that the mob was made up of loyalists of a deputy minister in the Sri Lankan national government.
“As tensions rise in the lead-up to national elections, the government of Sri Lanka must respond neutrally to acts of politically motivated violence against the media to identify those responsible for this attack on the country’s largest private broadcast company,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.
According to IFJ sources, the government has indicated that the MTV group’s sponsorship of an upcoming tour by a western music group may be the motivation for the attack, since there have been allegations about this group’s supposed hostility to the Buddhist religion.
However, the IFJ understands the principal host of the music group’s tour is the official government-run Tourism Board of Sri Lanka.