SL Prez remarks rile scribes

Colombo, August 4:

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based reporters’ rights group, said it was alarmed that Sri Lanka’s president has accused senior local journalist Iqbal Athas of publishing information damaging to the country. “Speaking to a closed meeting of 1,000 top military and police officials, the president accused Athas of publishing sensitive information harmful to Sri Lanka’s national security,” the CPJ said in a statement seen today. Chandrika Kumaratunga threatened to use the Official Secrets Act against Athas and said the journalist had reported and exaggerated gossip, the CPJ said. Athas, a veteran defence analyst for The Sunday Times, reported the president’s remarks in a column on Sunday.