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* Controversial Sri Lanka Deputy Minister of Media resigns
Wed, May 5, 2010, 08:32 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 05, Colombo: Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva who swore in as the Deputy Minister of Media on April 23 has submitted his resignation to the President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning.

He swore in as the Deputy Minister of Highways later in the day before the President.

The appointment of Mervyn Silva as the Deputy Minister of Media was taken by media circles as an undiplomatic move by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Several media organizations protested the controversial appointment of Silva as the Deputy Minister of Media.

"In what country do you appoint an arsonist to put out fires?" Paris-based (RSF) asked. RSF called on Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne to relieve Mervyn Silva of his ministerial post.

"The Sri Lankan government has against distinguished itself by assigning key posts to very controversial figures implicated in attacks on press freedom," Reporters Without Borders said.

However, the Deputy Minister said he would work with the media together and called on the media to maintain cooperation.

Former government spokesman on national security Kandy district MP Keheliya Rambukwella took oaths as the Minister of Mass Media and Communication today. He has no deputy for the moment and it is expected that a newcomer to the parliament will be given the post in the coming weeks.

Mervyn Silva has told a local news service that the rumor of his resignation was not true.

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