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Assaulted Lankan journalist receives global award

world Updated: Nov 14, 2010 07:24 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

A Sri Lankan journalist who was assaulted last year has been named among the recipients of a global integrity ward.

Transparency International on Friday evening announced the name of Poddala Jayantha for the award, commending him for his ``dedication to exposing injustice in Sri Lanka.’’

Jayantha, who was also the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association general secretary, was viciously assaulted on June 1, 2009 by unidentified assailants. He received injuries to his head and leg. After recovering partly, he migrated to the United States like many other journalists from Sri Lanka who moved abroad after being assaulted and threatened for criticising government policies.

Few have returned but many continue to stay abroad.

"I am happy that I could fight against corruption and campaign for press freedom while working for the state media," he told BBC Sinhala after the awards announcement. "But yes I had to leave the country as a result."

Jayantha, according to the Sunday Leader website, had also won the coveted National Integrity Award at the inaugural presentation by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) in 2004 following his revelations as an investigative journalist in the ‘Silumina’.

His peers said Jayantha also spoke about media freedom and wrote many investigative stories.

Sri Lanka is still among the most dangerous places for independent journalists, according to press freedom watchdog Reporters without Borders (RSF).