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Sri Lanka bars media from covering local elections

August 4, 2009

Press Trust of India : Sri Lanka bars media from covering local elections
STAFF WRITER 20:15 HRS IST

Colombo, Aug 3 (AP) Sri Lanka will not allow reporters into two northern cities to cover the first local elections there since the military defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels earlier this year, the government said today.

The government has touted Saturday’s polls in the cities of Vavuniya and Jaffna as the first sign of democracy taking root in an area ravaged by the 25-year civil war that ended in May.

The government did not give a reason for banning reporters, but it cites security reasons for denying entry to any outsider.

The two cities are just outside the de facto state the separatist Tamil Tigers ran in the north and were frequent targets of rebel violence. Both cities, where Tamils are the majority, remain surrounded by checkpoints and are accessible only with permission from the Defence Ministry. Even residents can’t leave without permission.

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