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Sri Lanka ‘repressing’ media: rights group

[AFP, Friday, 27 February 2009 08:56 No Comment]

The arrest of a top Sri Lankan Tamil newspaper editor is a sign of "repression" of media critical of the government, a rights group said Friday.


Nadesapillai Vidyatharan, chief editor of the Sudar Oli and Uthayan newspapers, was detained by police Thursday while attending a funeral.


The police first said he was abducted and later admitted detaining Vidyatharan in connection with recent suicide air attack by the Tamil Tigers in Colombo.


But the New York-based the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the government was only trying to silence critics of its war against Tamil rebels.


"The nature of his arrest and the allegations that he was somehow involved in an aerial attack on Colombo point to more government repression of critical reporting," CPJ’s Asia Programme Coordinator, Bob Dietz, said.


Vidyatharan’s newspapers have been staunchly critical of the military campaign against Tamil Tiger rebels, who are cornered in the northeast of the island.


"Carried out without a warrant, this arrest was a violation of the rule of law," Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.

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