FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SRI LANKA

For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

Six Sri Lankan journalists sue over their arrests, say gov’t trying to stifle free expression

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Six Sri Lankan web journalists filed a court case Tuesday seeking for their arrests last month to be declared illegal and demanding compensation, an attorney said.
Saliya Peiris said the six staff members of http://www.srilankamirror.com , a website critical of the government, filed the case in a court in Colombo, the capital. The petitioners said a police raid on their office and the subsequent arrests were unlawful and aimed to stifle freedom of expression, thereby violating the constitution.
Nine website workers were arrested and later released on bail. The authorities accused them of disseminating false information and defaming public figures.

The website was among five blocked by the government last year, but access to http://www.srilankamirror.com was restored after a court settlement.

There have been many killings, attacks and arrests of journalists in Sri Lanka in recent years and media rights groups accuse the government of failing to investigate them

AP

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