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Sri Lankan police shut down opposition news sites for ‘false and vulgar reports’

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Sri Lankan police Friday shut down opposition news websites, accusing them of carrying “false and vulgar reports”, months after imposing censorship on news alerts issued by mobile phone companies. Seven media organisations, including the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, condemned the closure of the Lanka Mirror and Lanka X News offices located within the same building in Colombo. “A group of 25 officers from the police Criminal Investigation Department sealed the offices and nine employees were arrested,” the media organisations said in a joint statement. “We condemn this deadly assault on media freedom.” The Sri Lankan defence ministry said the news organisations were shut down after officials obtained a court order to carry out searches and seize equipment. Rights groups and employees said one website was the official news organ of the opposition United National Party (UNP), while the other website was also closely linked to the UNP.

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