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Sri Lankan President Pardons Convicted Tamil Journalist

J.S. Tissainayagam, pardoned on World Press Freedom Day, was sentenced to 20 years

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa pardoned a convicted Tamil journalist Monday to mark World Press Freedom Day.

The reporter, J.S. Tissainayagam, was sentenced to 20 years of hard labor last year after writing articles critical of the government's war against the Tamil rebels.

The media rights group Reporters Without Borders says press freedom is under attack across the globe. The group issued its annual list of Predators of Press Freedom Monday, naming 40 state and religious leaders, militias and criminal organization as enemies of the press.

The Philippines' private militias landed at the top of the list after allies of a politician in Maguindanao province were accused of killing around 50 people, including 30 journalists.

Military-run Burma also made the list of press predators. The Paris-based group says military leader General Than Shwe has refused to loosen his grip on the media and the Internet.

Taliban leader Mullah Omar joined the list this year because of targeted attacks on the press. The media rights group says the militant influential in Pakistan and Afghanistan has waged around 40 attacks on journalists and the media since 2009 in an effort to control the media.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.