Today marks six years since the attack on MTV/MBC’s Depanama Studio

Today marks six years since the attack on MTV/MBC’s Depanama Studio

Written by Bella Dalima

06 Jan, 2015 | 9:39 pm

Six years ago, an attack was carried out on the people’s right to information. The attack on the Depanama Studio Complex of the MTV / MBC Media Network on that day did not only cause damage to property.

The series of events that transpired afterward have posed a greater threat to the people’s right to information.

At about 2:10 a.m. on Jan. 6, 2009 a group of about 20 thugs armed with firearms and explosives broke into the MTV/MBC studio complex in Depanama, while our unarmed colleagues were on their night shift. They had arrived at the location in a white van with no license plates.

The armed gang entered the security building and after taking the guards hostage, proceeded to enter the studio complex and destroy the equipment there.

The Master Control Room which co-ordinates all telecasts was severely damaged in the attack which saw the use of claymore explosives. The Master Control Room which boasted an automated computer system was one of the most advanced of its kind in South Asia.Following the attack, the Government Analysts Department determined that there had been an attempt to set off an 8 kilogram claymore bomb inside the Master Control Room.

Even when our equipment had been reduced to cinders, the limitless strength of our staff enabled us to get back on the airwaves within a short period.

Senior Journalist Lasantha Wickremetunge was assassinated two days after this attack. It was on the very day that the Depanama Studio Complex was attacked that Lasantha Wickremetunge who stood for the people’s right to information, made his final statement to the media.

Just as Lasantha Wickremetunge said, in spite of the persisting dangers, our staff continued their service, keeping you informed and up to date, upholding your right to information.

We have not forgotten the strength that you –  the people – gave us during this trying time.

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