A journalists’ pressure group has strongly criticised the appointment of a Sri lankan deputy media minister “notorious for attacking journalists”. Reporters Without Borders says that the appointment of Mervyn Silva casts doubt on the government’s ability to carry out reconciliation and reconstruction. It says that it comes at a time when many journalists are fleeing the country to escape persecution. But Mr Silva said that he would do his utmost to protect reporters. He appealed to reporters at a press conference in Colombo on Tuesday to produce “balanced reporting”. Mr Silva – who has served as a minister in previous governments – was accused in December 2007 of rampaging through the offices of the state television broadcaster in a confrontation that was aired live. He inisted that he was only trying to make an official visit, but journalists say he and his entourage were trying to intimidate reporters.