Heads of Mission of the European Union in Sri Lanka on Sunday joined their US colleagues in expressing concern over the raids on the Sri Lanka Mirror and the Lankanews websites.

“Freedom of the media is a vital element in democratic societies and journalists must be able to carry out their legitimate work without fear of harassment or intimidation. Any action intended to intimidate independent journalism and or limit freedom of expression is in contradiction to UN human rights standards,” the EU office said in a statement. The US Embassy in Colombo on Friday also raised concerns over the raid on the website offices and the arrest of its staff.

The journalists were released on bail on Saturday. The Sri Lankan Defence Ministry said the websites were carrying information that, under certain laws, were meant to ‘incite the people’.