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Media under Rajapaksha’s second term: Situation report

Editor arrested

(January 29, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The editor of ‘Lanka Irida’ Chandana Sirimalwatta, who had been asked to call over at the CID to get a statement, has been arrested on detaining orders.

Mr. Sirimalwatta, who went to the Criminal Investigation Department today afternoon, had been questioned for more than two hours. The CID has informed his lawyers that he had to be detained as he has to be further questioned.

Sirimalwatta was harassed and intimidated on several occasions in 2010. Irida Lanka, Sinhala language weekly ( a pro opposition newspaper), he edits has been under immense pressure over the last year. His newspaper played a major role in opposition commom candidate Saratha Fonseka's precedential election campaign.

www.lankaenews.com staff under threat

Popular Sinhala language website lankaenews staff is under surveillance and pressure as authorities mounting various intimidations against the news site. Website is not accessible in Sri Lanka for last three days. On 28th January night unknown group surrounded the lankaenews office located in Rajagiriaya, Boralla and stayed there nearly two hours inquiring about the staff. The vehicle they arrived had the number plate of 32-8432. They had padlocked the office before leaving.

At least four more websites with critical content remain blocked by state as well as privately owned servers in Sri Lanka: www.lankanewsweb.com, www.srilankagaurdian.org , www.infolanka.com, and www.nidahasa.com.

Sirasa TV threatened

Popular TV channel which provided election coverage to both main contender in recently concluded presidential election was threatened by high government official for not providing them with video footage related to common opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka.

TV station has been placed under "protective custody" of military form the election day on wards.

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