In an email to Colombo Telegraph, received a few hours ago, Dialog Axiata PLC Board member, a Friday Forum’s key co-signatory, former UN under secretary general Jayantha Dhanapala has advised that, “it is the sole responsibility of the Executive Management to respond to any external communications on company affairs,” says further that, we should “raise any issues or clarifications… directly with the Executive Management of Dialog.”
He does not, it would appear, to have any plans to resign from the Dialog board.
The issue at hand is blocking of internet access to the Colombo Telegraph website, which Dhanapala, has characterized as an “allegation.” It has been long established that CT’s website are being blocked by a number of Sri Lankan broadband providers, through uncontradicted tweets by Colombo editors and journalists like BBC’s Charles Havland, Groundviews’ Sanjana Hattotuwa, and Nalaka Gunawardene, as far back at March 30, 2013 and December 25, 2011. Further, the US State department human rights report for 2013, does clearly state that, “ The government periodically blocked access to the Colombo Telegraph’s website…”.
Surprisingly, Dhanapala, who is a “regular reader,” of Colombo Telegraph claims he only learned of what he calls an “alleged Dialog interference with the Colombo Telegraph.” after reading Colombo Telegraph.
In a much longer communication with Colombo Telegraph, Chandra Jayaratne, former CEO of a major Sri Lankan corporation, chairman of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, and Friday Forum member stated, “I remain confident that JD [Jayantha Dhanapala] will as always, including in relation to this issue, will stand by the best practices of good governance within accepted Codes of Conduct and in line with his unquestioned integrity, high principles and values and uphold his valued commitments as a benchmark civil society leader held with respect by many including myself.”
However, there seems to be little worth in these statements. Colombo Telegraph maintains that the blocking of its web servers through a variety of surreptitious means, is illegal and unethical. What is at stake is not, who “respond(s) to any external communications on company affairs,” but whether it is ethical member of the board of the company, who advocates freedom of expression and a free and independent media, as a key member of a vocal civil society group to remain in that position.
Civil Society activist group Friday Forum so far has not condemned or issued a statement explaining its stance on ongoing illegal blocking of web-based media.
Colombo Telegraph is being blocked by all internet service providers and mobile networks – private and state owned – in Sri Lanka.
Readers are strongly advised to change the DNS settings on their computer to Google Public DNS by following the instructions provided here: http://www.thewindowsclub.com/how-to-change-dns-settings-in-windows-7-vista
Readers can also utilise this one click link to access Colombo Telegraph: http://j.mp/ColoTele