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Another editor attacked in Sri Lanka

world Updated: Jan 23, 2009 08:44 IST

Unidentified assailants stabbed a newspaper editor and smashed his car as he drove to work on Friday in Sri Lanka, colleagues said, in the latest of a series of attacks against journalists.

Upali Tennakoon, chief editor of the privately-owned Rivira weekly, and his wife who was with him were attacked by two men on motorcycles who blocked his car at Imbulgoda, outside the capital Colombo, a reporter on his paper said.

"They were stabbed and are now being brought to hospital in Colombo," the reporter added, sayig the editor's condition was said to be stable. "His wife was also in the car and she too has been injured."

The attack came two weeks after another editor, Lasantha Wickrematunga, was killed as he drove to his office on the edge of Colombo.

His car was also blocked by the unidentified gunmen on motorcycles.

Wickrematunga had been a staunch critic of the government's war against Tamil Tiger rebels, and since then, at least eight journalists and prominent media rights activists have fled the country fearing they would be targeted.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has asked foreign diplomats in Colombo to "weigh in forcefully and immediately" with President Mahinda Rajapakse to put an end to attacks raining down on Sri Lanka's media.

The CPJ said the sheer brutality of the attacks in recent days was a clear indicator of how the war on the Sri Lankan media has moved far beyond the use of threats, intimidation, legal harassment, and sporadic violence.

Earlier this month, attackers torched a privately owned television station labelled as "unpatriotic" by sections of the state media for its coverage of the island's bitter ethnic conflict.