Attacks on the Press
| Afghanistan, France, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ukraine
South Asian Conflict, Remarkable Resilience
By Bob Dietz
Traffic is sparse during a late-night run to the Bandaranaike International Airport north of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. Because of insecurity caused by war between the Sinhalese-dominated government and Tamil separatists in the country's north and east, the streets are given over to police and army checkpoints. On this September night, the air still foggy from the day's monsoon, reporter Iqbal Athas rides in a rental car, on his way to catch a Thai Airways flight that would take him to Bangkok. An award-winning defense columnist for the English-language Sunday Times, Athas is leaving the country for his own safety: His recent reports on arms sales irregularities have drawn threats, harassment, and, on one occasion, an unruly mob of protestors outside his home. "The harassment and threats have come and gone in the past," Athas says, "and I have to assume they will again." He would return to Colombo in less than two weeks.