'Hindrances' triggered censorship - Ratwatte
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 19 August 1998, 09:59 GMT]
2050 soldiers of the Sri Lankan Army's Sinha Regiment have died in military action, since the beginning of the war, up to the 31st of July this year, said Deputy Defence Minister, General Anuruddha Ratwatte, at a press conference held at the Ambepussa Sinha Regiment Military Headquarters on 16 August.
He was speaking to the press at the 10th annual commemorative ceremony of the Sinha Regiment's war dead. The Sinha Regiment is 41 years old and is made up of 16 battalions.
He said further that the government wished the parents of the war dead to be present at the function that was held to honour the war dead.
The Deputy Defence Minister said that the government was forced to impose press censorship due to the "hindrances" caused to the military in achieving its target.
He said reporters should gather details and provide in-depth reports when "things are clear" rather than worsen the situation with reports that are produced "in haste". It is a responsible task at the current moment, he added.
A memorial museum was also opened by the Minister at the function.
Army Commander Lieutenant General Rohan de S. Daluwatte, Overall Operations Commander to the North and East Major General Srilal Weerasuriya, Commander Major General Jaliya Nammuni, Major General Sarath Perera, Military Spokesman Brigadier Sunil Tennakoon and many other military officers were also present at the ceremony.
The Sri Lankan government introduced strict censorship on the reporting of news related to military action this year. This, along with the long-standing ban on correspondents entering the island's war zones, has prevented independent verification of events there.