17 September, 2019

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International Press Institute Urges UN To Ensure Interference With Colombo Telegraph Ends

In an open letter to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, and members of the U.N. Human Rights Council, the International Press Institute (IPI) Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said; “the IPI would like to call your attention to press freedom restrictions imposed by the Sri Lankan government.  In particular, we are concerned about the ban imposed on the Colombo Telegraph, an on-line newspaper, and other news websites that are being blocked in Sri Lanka.  We believe these actions represent a serious violation of people’s right to access a broad range of information and opinions.”

The IPI called on them to “do everything in [their] power to ensure that the interference with the Colombo Telegraph and other news websites ends, and that the government respects its international commitments to press freedom”.

“IPI would like to call your attention to press freedom restrictions imposed by the Sri Lankan government.  In particular, we are concerned about the ban imposed on the Colombo Telegraph, an on-line newspaper, and other news websites that are being blocked in Sri Lanka.  We believe these actions represent a serious violation of people’s right to access a broad range of information and opinions.” it said.

“Sri Lanka must ensure that the website of the Colombo Telegraph and other news websites are not blocked in the country, as this represents an unacceptable form of pre-publication censorship,” IPI Press Freedom Manager Barbara Trionfi said.

We publish below the statement in full;

Vienna, March 25, 2014

Open letter on the blockage of the Colombo Telegraph’s website in Sri Lanka

To the attention of:

Mr. Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression;

Members of the UN Human Rights Council

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Human Rights Council Branch

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Your Excellencies,

The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in more than 120 countries, would like to call your attention to press freedom restrictions imposed by the Sri Lankan government.  In particular, we are concerned about the ban imposed on the Colombo Telegraph, an on-line newspaper, and other news websites that are being blocked in Sri Lanka.  We believe these actions represent a serious violation of people’s right to access a broad range of information and opinions.

Alison Bethel McKenzie

Alison Bethel McKenzie

According to IPI’s sources, the website of the Colombo Telegraph, run by a group of exiled journalists, is frequently targeted by the authorities in Sri Lanka and has been periodically blocked in the country since 2011, most recently starting in February 2014.  According to a Feb. 20 Colombo Telegraph article, Sri Lanka’s Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) “officially issued instructions to mobile service providers to block Colombo Telegraph and other critical websites on its servers, with a warning that the companies are to maintain to customers that the inability to view the sites on the networks were merely ‘technical’ problems.”

The article further explained that “the Colombo Telegraph is no longer available on Dialog and Etisalat networks and is regularly blocked on SLT and Mobitel servers.”  The editor, Uvindu Kurukulasuriya, told IPI that he has reason to believe the government has no intention of lifting the ban.

Sri Lanka still endures the consequences of a civil war that lasted almost three decades and the human rights situation in the country has been the subject of criticism by the UN Human Rights Council. According to IPI’s sources, intimidation and other tactics employed by the Sri Lankan government during and after the conflict forced many journalists to flee the country and has led to widespread self-censorship among media still operating in the country.  Furthermore, in their 2012 submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka, the freedom of expression organisation ARTICLE 19 and Mr. Kurukulasuriya highlighted that “media diversity and press freedom are under threat in Sri Lanka where affiliates of the president appear to be buying newspapers that criticise the government, in order to censor them.”

Launched in 2011, the Colombo Telegraph is an entirely volunteer-based news website covering Sri Lankan matters and aims to re-enforce free and independent media in the country.  With more than one million page views per month, it has achieved considerable popularity.  Run by a group of exiled journalists, the news website covers mostly issues which are underreported within the country.

We firmly believe that allowing people unfettered access to information and opinions would not only show Sri Lanka’s commitment to human rights, but would also represent an important step in Sri Lanka’s much-needed reconciliation process.  It is therefore essential that people in Sri Lanka have access to a broad array of media, including the Colombo Telegraph. Furthermore, it is vital that Sri Lanka ensures justice in the numerous crimes against journalists committed in the past decades, including the murder of Sunday Leader editor and IPI World Press Freedom Hero, Lasantha Wickrematunge.

We urge you to do everything in your power to ensure that the interference with the Colombo Telegraph and other news websites ends, and that the government respects its international commitments to press freedom.

Sincerely,

Alison Bethel McKenzie

Executive Director

Read the original letter here

Related posts;

Colombo Telegraph Has Every Right To Raise Dhanapala’s Conflict Of Interest; Friday Forum Member Speaks Out

Jayantha Dhanapala Is A Liar; Caught Lying Over Silence On Colombo Telegraph Blocking

Jayaratne Says Dhanapala Will Stand By Best Practices, Dhanapala Pussyfoots On Illegal Web Blocking

Article 19 Slams Ban On Colombo Telegraph Website

Dialog Board Director And Friday Forum Member Jayantha Dhanapala Fails To Stop CT Blockade On Dialog Network

Dhanapala May Be Influenced By Large Payment He Receives From Dialog – Professor Kumar David

‘Dhanapala’s Position Ethically Untenable’ Says Dr. Pradeep Jeganathan

Sara Says ‘Dhanapala – WebBlocking’ Issue Needs To Be Resolved Within The Framework Of Good Governance

Subtle Business Interests More Damaging Than Anti–Democratic Regime: Dhanapala Should Answer Conflict Of Interest Questions – Dr. Nirmal Ranjith

Sri Lanka Blocks Websites And The President Lies On Twitter

Once Again Colombo Telegraph Blocked; Dialog And Etisalat Tamper DNS Responses 

TRC Blocks Colombo Telegraph, Warns Service Providers To Maintain It’s A ‘Technical Glitch’

Colombo Telegraph Blocked, How To Reach Us Now: Sri Lanka Telecom And Mobitel Joins The DPI Club!

Sri Lankan Govt. Periodically Blocked Colombo Telegraph In 2013: US Human Rights Report

History of Colombo Telegraph blocking

First -December 26, 2011 – We are blocked but we will not be stopped

Second – May 8, 2012 – Colombo Telegraph Blocked Again

Third – March 29, 2013  – Sri Lanka Blocks Colombo Telegraph and Selected Tweets: Colombo Telegraph Unblocked

Fourth – August 23, 2013 – Colombo Telegraph Blocked, How To Reach Us Now: Sri Lanka Telecom And Mobitel Joins The DPI Club!

Other attempts 

October 26, 2012 – Colombo Telegraph Was Hacked

August 9, 2012 ColomboTelegraph Password Cracking Attempt Blocked

Freedom House Report: Freedom On The Net 2012, Sri Lanka Is A Country At Risk

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Latest comments

  • 5
    0

    The International Press Institute [IPI] has been subjected to withering criticism as “key member of the global democracy manipulating establishment.” Please see:

    Michael Barker, “Media Manipulation and the United Nations: UNESCO Severs Ties to Democracy Manipulators?”, Global Research, March 23, 2008

  • 1
    0

    “In an open letter to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, and members of the U.N. Human Rights Council, the International Press Institute (IPI) Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said; “the IPI would like to call your attention to press freedom restrictions imposed by the Sri Lankan government. In particular, we are concerned about the ban imposed on the Colombo Telegraph, an on-line newspaper, and other news websites that are being blocked in Sri Lanka. We believe these actions represent a serious violation of people’s right to access a broad range of information and opinions.”

    ABSOLUTELY!

    Fight for the right to know the facts AND LET OTHER KNOW THE FACTS.
    This is the 21st century!

    Put Colombo Telegraph in 1,000 Proxy servers.

  • 0
    2

    Regime is following the policy demostrated by Vermin Silva – ‘Digging its own grave!’

  • 1
    1

    Congratulations to Colombo Telegraph.The way to go.Keep fighting till press freedom is restored in this country . We enjoyed this freedom in the past.

    • 2
      0

      Ha ha Leeches`|

      Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
      –Thomas Jefferson

    • 1
      0

      Congratulations to Colombo Telegraph.The way to go.Keep fighting till press freedom ,

      Also need Comment Freedom..to tell the truth,,

      “International Press Institute Urges UN To Ensure Interference With Colombo Telegraph Ends”

      Can you support getting the truth out, however, bitter it may be.

      Truth is a Process..

      Yes, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Newton got some truth out..

      Amarasiri is pointing out the Truth about Paras as proven by the DNA in the Paras bloody bodies…..

  • 2
    1

    We as individuals who value Democracy and Press Freedom should be indebted to CT for their efforts to restore same for the benefit of all including those who try to subvert to deny, as seen blaming the IPI above.

  • 2
    1

    what interfernce . just making crap up .

  • 0
    3

    What about Tamilnet -it serves its community but is a victim of Govt. policy?

    • 2
      0

      Tamilnet has its reporters in the north and east mainly,and reports the doings of the government affecting the tamils mainly.
      It shows photos and maps which make its news credible and informative.
      It is hated more than the CT, by the government.

      • 0
        0

        “hated more ….”
        one is tamil with some familiar evidence while the other is sihala with cut and paste poppycock therefore Dhanapala behaves like Ganesh of UN.

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out]

  • 0
    0

    Congratulations to Colombo Telegraph. Keep applying pressure as eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

  • 0
    0

    Instead of doing things like that MR must find a solution to the unresolved and long standing Tamil political problem.

    JHU says it would like to talk to TNA and ask TNA not to insist on 13A in the constitution of SL- an unconstitutional and illegal act.

    Tamils of North and East pf SL have a legal right of self determination as prescribed by the UN. Tamil demand since 1977 is maximum autonomy to have their safety, security and freedom.

    Sinhalese as a nation;

    a) have a mindset to dominate, control and oppress Tamils. This is
    undemocratic.
    b) within a short time can turn out to be dangerously destructive to the
    extent of brutally killing Tamils collectively. Anti Tamil violence and
    Tamil genocide prove this point.

    This is the culture, inheritance and history of the Sinhalese in the past and is now. So rightly, the Tamils cannot and do not trust them at all.

    Also the spiritual leaders have not taught and led the Sinhalese to;

    a) to meditate and choose to do whatever things that are true, noble, just,
    pure, good and lovely.
    b) to do unto all fellow citizens what they will do to themselves.
    c) to love Tamils and not hate them.

    Therefore, to achieve peace, stability and prosperity in SL any solution should be based simultaneously on;

    a) a spiritual solution and
    b) a political solution.

    I believe in solutions based on principles and wise choice of people, not on promises of politicos.

    My suggestion as a spiritual solution is remorsefulness of the Sinhalese and Federalism for 10 years as a TRIAL political solution to see if;

    a) if the Sinhalese would change their present hatred and oppressive attitude and become good and trustworthy to Tamils and
    b) if Tamils would drop their demand for Tamil Eelam.

    Federalism is not separation. America has 52 different federal states but they are not 52 separate countries.

    My question is has JHU has sufficient wisdom, spiritualism, leadership ability and patriotism to do this task?

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