A journalist and media rights activist in Sri Lanka is in hiding after surviving what is thought to be an abduction attempt. A group of men tried to force its way into the home of Dileesha Abesundera but she managed to evade capture. Abesundera has been actively involved in freedom of expression initiatives in Sri Lanka and campaigning for the release of journalist J.S Tissainayagam. Athula Vithanage reports.
Dileesha Abesundera says a group of men arrived at her home in a white van at 11pm and called her name.
She said they broke the gate to her home and began banging on her door.
According to Abesundera, the men were calling to her and demanding to know about her involvement in the organisation of a recent seminar about media suppression, and her involvement in the campaign calling for the release of jailed journalist J.S. Tissainayagam, who is currently serving a 20-year jail term.
She escaped unhurt and is now in hiding.
Abesundera is the Assistant Secretary of the Free Media Movement of Sri Lanka, secretary of the national forum of journalists and a committee member of the Sri Lanka female journalist's network.
Dileesha Abesundera at recent media freedom rally
She is also an executive member for the Sri Lanka working journalists association.
She is the deputy features Editor of Irudina, a Sinhalese weekly, which is the sister paper of the Sunday Leader, whose editor, Lasantha Wickramatunga was killed by an so-far unnamed group in January.
Abesundera has reported the incident to the police and asked for protection.
Colleagues, friends and supporters have repeated their calls to international media freedom campaigners to highlight what they see is a growing threat against journalists working in the country.
Note: The author, Athula Vithanage, is a freelance journalist and media activitist in the Sri Lanka Free Media Movement and a member of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association.