- 06 July 2012
- By Athula Withanage
Several journalists have been arrested following a daylight raid on two news websites in Sri Lanka. This major move to curb online media critical of the government comes two days after the government's decision to block local access to at least six Tamil news websites operating outside Sri Lanka.
The latest clamp down on media was reported on Friday (29) as the office of the news websites, srilankamirror.com and srilankaxnews.com was raided by a joint team from the CID and the Colombo Crime Divison (CCD ). The srilankaxnews.com is widely known as the official news website of the Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP).
The office which was shared by the two websites was located at Athulkotte, a suburb in Colombo. Nine members of the staff attached to the two websites who were present at the time of the raid, were locked up in the office and interrogated before being arrested and taken away. The security officers have also confiscated the computer equipment before sealing off the premises. JDS has received information that those arrested are being currently held at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Colombo.
Meanwhile, a separate group of police officers have forcibly entered into the private residence of Mr.Ruwan Ferdinandez, the Chief Editor of srilankaxnews.com. He was also the former Consultant Editor of Sri Lanka Mirror website. At the time of the raids Mr.Ferdinendez's was not available either at his residence or at the website office.
The crack down on two opposition media outlets comes in the run up to the elections in three provincial councils. North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern provincial councils were dissolved by the government on Wednesday.
For further information, read the JDS Urgent Alert