10 August, 2022


Govt Stammers And Stutters Over Lanka Enews Blocking

The government failed to explain the blocking of the news website www.lankaenews.com despite local and international media rights advocates condemning the move.

Maithripala Sirisena

Colombo Telegraph revealed on 9 November, 2017 that the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) had issued a directive to instruct all internet service providers to block the website.

This was after the website published stories that were considered to be derogatory and abusive of President Maithripala Sirisena. The President referred to ‘a website operated from abroad’ and ‘supported by those accused of wrongdoing in the Central Bank Bond Scam’ attacking him.

This morning at the weekly media briefing on cabinet decisions, spokesperson Dayasiri Jayasekara was rendered helpless when journalists queried him about blocking lankaenews.

Jayasekara could not explain why the website was blocked or who was responsible for this act of censorship. After stammering for a while, he said that he had heard about it. Then he said that President Sirisena wouldn’t do such a thing (as blocking a website).

The Centre for Policy Alternatives in a media release noted with concern the inaccessibility of the website from November 8th onwards.

“Whether by executive order or based on a unilateral decision by the TRCSL, CPA notes that the blocking of Lanka E News has not followed due process and is completely extra-judicial in nature,” the CPA stated.

The Commission to Protect Journalists (CPJ) also called for the restoration of access immediately in a tweet: “CPJ is concerned about reports that news site Lanka E News has been blocked in #SriLanka because of its critical reporting. This is a press freedom violation and access to the website should be restored immediately.”

When reporters asked him under which law the website was blocked, Jayasekara said that the website had repeatedly attacked Sirisena and had intensified the attacks of late. He also observed that the website had not shown interest in revealing those who were responsible for the bond scam, echoing the President’s comment and insinuating that the culprits were backing the website.

Finally, he suggested that the reporter make use of Right to Information laws to find out how the website came to be banned before promising the share the information at the next media briefing after finding out what had happened.

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Latest comments

  • 14

    Wow, stammering, get the information from RTI office that is not funded….

    Should Sri Lankans go abroad to access this web site? Why? RTI office can you tell us why?

    Is Ravi Penthouse and others mad at Sirisena, or it it something else?

  • 15

    What politicians fail to realize is that gagging the media would immediately find you guilty in the eyes of the public of the allegations that the media was in the process of making. Lanka e-news did not publish anything to create public disorder, ethno-religious hatred etc. to deserve a virtual closure. The closure now indicates that some are really drunk with power and cannot see the reality. How sad! Did we vote this crowd into power only to see a repetition of the record of the former?

  • 20

    This is Sri Lankan Style of administration; Bond Scam, Ship Scam, Highway Scam [Highway robbery] god only knows haw many more scams to surface.
    To stop the exposure of these scams the involved party took short-cut to suppress the news, now find it backfired and exposed everywhere in the world.
    Now the politicians go to the parliament not to serve the people or country – for them and their families.
    That is the fate and curse for this country until this is continued without any opposition to these greedy people.

  • 6

    It’s disgraceful if something of the sort has taken place.
    But I’ve been accessing Lankaenews.com all through this period in Sri Lanka without any hindrance.

  • 7

    Further it appears as if SLT is used to hack private emails on somebody’s instruction. They are interfering with freedom of expression.

  • 1

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 9

    sirisena was criticised for the purchase of a russian ship in which his son in law and maharajas were involved
    len uses strong language and does a bit of kite flying but altogether their stuff is quite acceptable
    no reason to ban it

  • 5

    I live abroad, therefore, I rely on electronic media for news on SL. Although, personally, I think some of Lankaenews reporting can be biased or exaggerated, the fact is, there is obviously some investigative & revealing reporting, which, many would find uncomfortable & the current regime would prefer to remain as unreported.

    If, however, there is baseless reporting & untruths, the Govt. or effected persons should come down hard on such reporting & lankaenews would lose credibility, eventually losing it’s reader base. The Govt., by stifling lankaenews & such critically reporting media, only confirms the guilt & lack of transparency. Despite the hype on freedom of speech, SL is far from being complicit & it is unlikely that SL would ever become a democracy that we expect, certainly, not in my life time, with all these yobs in Parliament. Of course, what can be expected from an uneducated President with a questionable record, clearly out of his depth in the highest office in the country?

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