The cable news provider Dialog TV has blocked the Doha based Al Jazeera news network to prevent the channels reports on Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council elections reaching local audiences.
The private television provider may be following unofficial instructions by the Government, the sources said.
The blockage is likely a result of the network’s ongoing coverage of the Northern Provincial Council election that has been intense on international news networks due to the heavy presence of the international press covering the polls in Sri Lanka’s north.
Consumers calling the network to report the problem have been informed by Customer Care representatives that the suspension of the Al Jazeera channel is due to a technical problem on the part of the content-provider, referring to the Qatar based channel.
However it is learnt that no official notification has been received by Al Jazeera regarding the unofficial ‘block’ on the channel in Sri Lanka.
Sources said it was likely the unofficial censorship would be lifted on Al Jazeera once coverage on the Northern poll ends.
The Government frequently uses the Dialog network to conduct its illegal blocking of websites as was recently observed when Colombo Telegraph was unofficially censored on local internet service providers SLT, MOBITEL and Dialog even though the Telecom Regulatory Commission denied it ordered the blockade.
Following repeated consumer queries and complaints, Colombo Telegraph was made available once again on the Dialog network. It remains unclear why the private communications provider regularly follows instructions by the ruling regime in without official notice when other privately owned providers like Etisalat do not adhere to ‘unofficial orders’ by the State.