Colombo, Media and Communications, Peace and Conflict

Sri Lanka blocks TamilNet

Follow up to Tamilnet banned? – How to continue to access the site from Sri Lanka

Original story available from here.

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 19 June 2007, 15:32 GMT]

TamilNet has completed 10th year of its web publication on 7th June 2007. TamilNet is a globally based news agency, run by an independent group of persons, to cover news and views related especially to the North and East of Sri Lanka. TamilNet has earned its credibility for news reporting and has become an indispensable news source to opinion makers worldwide. Not surprisingly, the Government of Sri Lanka has thought of rewarding the TamilNet on its 10th anniversary by clandestinely blocking it to the public of Sri Lanka.

Readers from Sri Lanka have informed TamilNet that local internet service providers have indicated that the access block was implemented by directives from “higher authorities.”

Even though the Sri Lankan state has a history behind it for silencing the voice of the Tamil public from the time it burnt down the Eezhanaadu newspaper office in 1981 in Jaffna, this is the first time, after the advent of Internet, it has moved to block access to a transnational website such as TamilNet.

With this unprecedented move, Colombo has denied the public of Sri Lanka access to independent NorthEast news, development related views and diaspora opinion on Tamil affairs which are otherwise not covered by the local media.

The de facto climate of self-censorship that has already plagued local media in Sri Lanka has now culminated in mischievious infringement into the freedom of global media. The timing of the act, strangely coincides with the scheduled visit of the representatives of Reporters sans frontières (RSF) and Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) to Jaffna.

Sri Lanka is plunging into undeclared military dictatorship and shameless ethnic cleansing, with open preparedness to challenge all norms of the International Community.

The TamilNet wishes to place the issue to the conscience of the Global Community and to all those proclaimed guardians of Democracy, Human Rights and Freedom of Expression.