Sri Lanka media rights activists decry new anti-terror laws

Media rights activists are urging the Sri Lankan government to withdraw proposed anti-terror legislation, calling it is a set of draconian laws aimed at suppressing the media freedom and democratic rights.

The new Counter-Terrorism bill approved by the cabinet of ministers is now before the Parliament. A date has yet to be announced for a debate and a vote on the bill, which the government says would repeal the existing tough anti-terror law.

C. Dodawatta, convener of the Free Media Movement, a local media rights group, said the proposed law could be used to arrest and detain journalists for distributing or making available any information to the public.

Journalists also could be arrested for not revealing their sources under the new law.