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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2674

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Sri Lankan defence authorities impose unofficial censorship

Amid an intensifying civil war, the Sri Lankan defence authorities have set out tough new guidelines for the media, which amount to de facto censorship of reporting on military activities. In a letter issued to all news organizations on September 28, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse called for all coverage to be submitted to the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) for vetting. "Any news gathered by your institution through your own sources with regard to national security and defense should be subjected to clarification and confirmation from the MCNS in order to ensure that correct information is published, telecast or broadcast," the directive stated. The defence secretary is the brother of President Mahinda Rajapakse, who is defence minister and commander in chief.

U.S. says Sri Lankan violence could endanger proposed peace talks

Munza Mushtaq -- Reporting for Colombo

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack while welcoming the agreement between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to return to talks October 28-29 in Geneva, has however expressed its deep concern that ongoing violence in Sri Lanka is putting the agreement at risk. "We call on both sides to cease hostilities immediately and foster an environment that is conducive to holding productive discussions in Geneva. We also urge both sides to ensure that non-government entities involved in humanitarian relief efforts are provided access to conflict-affected areas. It is imperative that human rights be respected and protected in all areas of Sri Lanka," he told a daily news conference at the State Department in Washington D.C..