Faraz Shaukatally shot: Journalist attacked by three men, shot in head as he slept, survives bullet

(CNN) -- A few days ago, strangers appeared at the door of a Sri Lankan investigative journalist when he wasn't home, asking questions about him.

Just before midnight Friday, three men stormed Faraz Shaukatally's house as he slept, police said.

One of them shot him.

Journalists face heavy intimidation in Sri Lanka, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, which has called the island nation a "highly restrictive and dangerous nation for the press."

Shaukatally survived the attack, which left him with a bullet lodged under the neck and questions about who may have wanted him dead.

Police have not apprehended the gunmen or established a motive, but the editor of his paper thinks he was shot over his critical articles.

"He has been writing a number of investigative stories in the past weeks," said Shakuntala Perera, who heads the Sunday Leader in the capital of Colombo. "Our journalists have been under constant threat."

Though the last journalist killings were four years ago, 25 members of the press have been murdered in Sri Lanka since 1999, according to CPJ.

Nine of the murders in the past decade remain unsolved. More than 63% of journalists killed in the country covered politics as a part of their work.

In the past five years, 20 journalists have fled the country, CPJ has said.

Last year, the government blocked a freedom of information bill citing national security, further denying journalists and citizens access to documents.

Perera's predecessor, Frederica Jansz, went into exile after a businessman with close government ties bought the paper last year.

In recent weeks, the Leader ran articles critical of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Perera admitted that she does not know whether Shaukatally was attacked specifically for any of his work.

He underwent surgery Saturday to remove the bullet.

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Comments