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Last updated: 30 October, 2007 - Published 12:43 GMT
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Hiru silence condemned
Reporters Without Borders
RSF condemns the suspension of ABC broadcasting licence
An international media watch-dog condemns the decision of Sri Lankan government to suspend the licence of five radio stations.

In a press release Reporters Without Borders [RSF] said that it has outraged by the information ministry’s decision to suspend the licence of Sun FM, Gold FM, Hiru FM, Shaa FM and Sooriyan FM belonging to the Asia Broadcasting Corporation ( ABC).

"We strongly condemn the government's punitive measures against the ABC group and we call for the immediate reinstatement of its licence," the international press freedom organisation said.

"We regret that the ABC network did not take more care with its sources, but that should under no circumstances be used by the government as a pretext for a form of censorship."

Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa
Media minister recalled the licence given to ABC

ABC's licence was suspended after it broadcast an erroneous report that Tamil tigers were arrived in a village in the south of Sri Lanka.

Even though ABC apologises for its incorrect broadcast the government suspended its licence to ABC.

On Friday Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said “temporary licence of ABC has been recalled because it's a gross violation of freedom of expression."

Excessive punishment

In an interview with the BBC, Spokesman of the Free Media Movement Sunanda Deshapriya said "the punishment does not fit the crime."

Media organisations in Sri Lanka say there is a systematic oppression against independent media in the country.

The Free Media movement (FMM) says the killing of Kangarajan Pradeepan in Jaffna could have be another attackck on the journalists.

Issuing another press release about an incident that had taken place in Jaffna FMM said “the killing of Kangarajan Pradeepan (26) yesterday in Jaffna has given rise to suspicions that he was killed in mistaken identity of his journalist brother.”

Journalists life is at danger

The FMM said that Pradeepan is the twin brother of Kangarajan Prashanthan who worked in Navadu Eelandu newspaper until it was closed in 2006.

Navadu Eelanady was closed down after its managing director Sinnathamby Sivamaharajah was shot dead in Jaffna.

The FMM said that according to the information it received the twins were almost identical and it was very difficult to recognize them separately for people who do know them personally.

“Its afraid that Pradeepan was killed in mistaken identity for his journalist brother and journalist Prashanthan maybe in danger” FMM pointed out.

Jaffna city has been under the control of Government Forces for nearly 12 years but the military and Tigers accuse each other for killings and abductions in the city.

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