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Sri Lankan Government Withdraws Plans to Censor War Reporting


Sri Lankan government officials have withdrawn regulations to censor war reporting.

Officials Wednesday abruptly canceled measures making it illegal to report on Sri Lanka's military operations, including any government plans to buy equipment for the military or police.

The regulations had been ordered by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in response to concerns of inaccurate media reports. Last week, the government suspended radio stations owned by the local ABC Network, after officials accused the stations of airing false reports of a Tamil Tiger attack.

A recent report by Reporters Without Borders ranked Sri Lanka among the worst in the world for press freedoms. The group says renewed civil war in Sri Lanka has made it difficult for journalists to work, with threats to reporters from both sides in the conflict.

The group says censorship has become more frequent.

Fighting between the government and rebels has surged over the past year despite a 2002 cease-fire. Rebels have been driven out of the east but remain entrenched in the northern part of the country.

An estimated 70,000 people have died during the more than two decades of conflict.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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