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Access to independent news website blocked -RSF

[MISC, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 06:55 No Comment]

Reporters Without Borders condemns the blocking of access to the independent Lanka News Web website (http://www.lankanewsweb.com) within Sri Lanka since 11 June. The site’s editors believe the blocking was prompted by a report posted earlier that day about President Mahinda Rajapakse’s son, Namal Rajapakse. The press freedom organisation also deplores Namal Rajapakse’s seizure of news media videos.

“The tension that already exists between the media and government in Sri Lanka will not be improved by blocking websites,” Reporters Without Borders said. “No one should be immune from press criticism, including members of the president’s family.”

Lanka News Web reported that, when visiting the Menik Farm Camp as head of the NGO, Tharunyata Hetak, the President’s son had stones thrown at him from persons violently opposed to his visit. Before leaving, he ensured that the video recordings of the incident were confiscated from the cameras of the media personnel accompanying him.

The Lanka News Web blocking is the latest evidence of a decline in freedom expression in Sri Lanka and comes two weeks after the revival of a Press Council that has the power to jail reporters and media executives.

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