Media Muzzle

January 30, 2010 (AFP) – Police in Sri Lanka shut down the offices of an opposition newspaper on Saturday, the weekly said, as international rights groups accused the authorities of a vendetta against critical media. Police went to the offices of the Lanka weekly and sealed the premises, a day after taking its editor into custody for questioning over reports that criticised a top government official, the newspaper said.

“The Criminal Investigations Department officers have surrounded the Lanka office and sealed it today,” the web edition of the paper said.

A police spokesman said he was not aware of any action taken against the newspaper and the government declined to comment.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders urged President Mahinda Rajapakse to end arrests, and what it called intimidation of journalists working for privately owned and foreign media.

“This wave of post-election violence could cast a lasting stain on the start of President Rajapakse’s second term and bodes ill for the political climate during the coming years,” the group said.

Reporters Without Borders said a political reporter disappeared two days before January’s presidential election while another editor of an an