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News website offices torched in Sri Lanka

[AFP, Monday, 31 January 2011 09:20 No Comment]

The lankaenews.com premises were torched in a pre-dawn attack Unidentified attackers in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo set ablaze the offices of an anti-establishment news website on Monday.

The lankaenews.com premises were torched in a pre-dawn attack but there were no reports of casualties, a police officer at the scene told AFP.

Monday’s attack appeared similar to the July burning of a private television station, Siyatha, in Colombo.

In January 2009, another independent television station, Maharaja Television, was bombed by an unidentified group of people.

A spokesman for President Mahinda Rajapakse’s office said he had ordered police to carry out a thorough investigation.

Sandaruwan Senadeera, the editor of Lanka E-News, which supported the main opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka at the January 2010 presidential election, is based in Europe following death threats.

"A group of unknown personnel had broken into the premises and set it on fire. By now everything that was inside the building has been destroyed," Lanka E-News said in a posting on its website.

A total of 17 journalists and media employees have been killed in Sri Lanka in the past decade and many local reporters exercise self-censorship to avoid confrontations with the authorities, according to rights groups.

[Full Coverage]

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