Sri Lanka to regulate news websites amid crackdown

July 13, 2012
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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka on Thursday (July 12th) announced regulations to control news websites, AFP reported.

Media minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the government was amending the 1973 Press Council Act to include news websites, which will now be required to register with the authorities. The Press Council has powers to fine and jail journalists who defy its orders.

"The government thought it fit and the time is right to make amendments to the existing act to accommodate new technologies," Rambukwella told reporters.

Police raided two opposition news websites and arrested nine employees late last month on charges of discrediting President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Both Srilankaxnews.com and Srilankamirror.com had been critical of the government.

A total of 17 journalists and media employees have been killed in Sri Lanka in the past decade. No one has been brought to justice for the killings.

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