The Alliance of Media Organisations yesterday delivered a special memorandum to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, appealed to her office in the face of severe threats to the freedom of expression in Sri Lanka. The special memo drafted by seven media organisations including the Free Media Movement, cited the killing and abduction and assault of journalists, attacks on media institutions, attempts to control the private media by threat, concessions or buy outs and web censorship among other issues faced by media professionals in the country. The Memo said a number of websites publishing material critical of the government, such as “Sri Lanka Guardian”, “Lanka E News”, “Lanka newsweb”, “Jaffna Muslims” and “Tamilnet” have been blocked at various times. However, the memo fails to raise concern about Sri Lanka’s block on the Colombo Telegraph website over the past six days.
The alliance calls on High Commissioner Pillay to make explicit reference to these concerns during her final press conference in Colombo, and her oral and written updates to the UN Human Rights Council and all other forums. It also calls for more attention by the UN on freedom of expression issues in Sri Lanka.
Read the full text of the memorandum here
When asked why they failed to mention about Colombo Telegraph; “It’s because you have exposed corruption related to these organisations which made most of them angry with CT” , highly placed source within the drafting committee of the memorandum told Colombo Telegraph. The memorandum was drafted by a group of people who are not members of these organisations.
These media organisations maintain a culture that they do not support critics even when they were being threatened and intimidated for their work as journalists.
In July 14, 2012 Colombo Telegraph reported; “The Colombo Telegraph learnt that in a conversation with Uvindu Kurukulasuriya, a former Convenor of the Free Media Movement, South Asia Project Manager for IFJ, Sukumar Muralidharan said his organization would not be issuing a statement condemning the Defence Secretary’s recent tirade against Sunday Leader Editor Fredrica Jansz until the journalist patched up her relationship with the FMM and certain media activist groups in Colombo. ‘They (Sunday Leader) need to patch up their relationship and we cannot get involved in something that could alienate us from the affiliates,’ he said.”
Three days after Colombo Telegraph was blocked,on August 26, Sri Lanka’s Consul General to Sydney and former Presidential Media Director Bandula Jayasekara, referring to Colombo Telegraph tweeted; “They have gone far beyond that I have heard from many. Is your free media free to insult? Just cowards hiding elsewhere”
Freedom House, US based watchdog in its report on Freedom on the Net 2012 said; “In November 2011, five popular news websites known for their reporting on human rights, governance issues, and corruption were arbitrarily blocked. Prior to this incident, the government and the TRCSL had never admitted to blocking websites but did so in this case on the premise of concerns about defamation and the violation of privacy. In December 2011 and intermittently in November 2011, Colombotelegraph.com, a news and commentary website run by exiled Sri Lankan journalists, was also blocked with absolutely no justification provided by authorities,but is accessible as of early 2012. The authorities have occasionally blocked website domains hosted on the servers of blogging platforms rather than specific blogs themselves,although only a few of the most popular blogs publish political content and dissenting narratives.”
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 – From August 23, 2013 up to now – Colombo Telegraph Blocked, How To Reach Us Now: Sri Lanka Telecom And Mobitel Joins The DPI Club!
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
Other related posts;
IFJ Love Hana And Hate Frederica, So No Statements On Ceylon Today And Sunday Leader Issues
Why Is The FMM Silent About ‘Ceylon Today’? By The Nation Editor
‘FMM Fraud Story Rolls On, Despite Denials’ – With A Note From Colombo Telegraph
Selling The FMM For The Good Life
Sunanda Saga, States Of Denial And NGO Accountability
How Sunanda Robbed The Money And NGO Accountability FMM Still Not Submitted Audited Accounts For Rs 30.9 Million
spotlight / August 30, 2013
And these media organizations claim to be clamouring for justice?
Amarasiri / August 30, 2013
Clone yourself, more and more. Make life more difficult for those who are trying to block you,
Appear and disappear. Like Avatars.
Palayang yako! / September 1, 2013
justice / August 30, 2013
CT, am glad that you are alive and kicking.
You are making people think – that is a great achievement.
Mahela / August 30, 2013
CT. You are doing a great service to our society.
Hambanthota Gan Kabaraya, Kangetta and Saradiel think that the Sri Lanka’s educated, intelligent, respectable, honest and dignified society could be supressed by imposing media blackouts.
This is what the Hora Thakkadiya show off crazy Showman Joker think.
Infact CT should promote your news website among the diaspora and among International community, so they could see the true picture of Sri Lankan state and also see the views of it’s general public.
CT today is the most favourite news web among the Sri Lanka’s educated community.
Keep up your good work CT and we appreciate you for your valuable contribution towards Sri Lankan citizens.
If Gan Kabaraya and Kangetta tries to distrupt or block your news webs, you should do the same for them and shut their media and private news webs.
There are many professional computer nerds and geek squads available to do whatever you instruct them to do.
Samuel / August 30, 2013
I think this ban will be held until Ms Pillay leaves the Island on the 31st. They are fear of people´s views. UN office colombo could read all these articles and comments passed to them regularly can be disadvantageous for the rulers. Else, there is no other reason them to ban CT.
Where has DayanJ been ? He is a person who can do something, where the man has been ? Whether he at all be given a chance to meet visiting Ms Pillay is questionable.
Silva / August 30, 2013
CT is the best forum we the ordinary people who do not have a playing field to voice our concerns and views over such matters of grave concern as are posted in CT web site. Though fewer in number of such dedicated people who bravely and unrelentingly post their views anyone with an interest can gain from those views. For example the double standards and dishonesty of Dayan Jayathilake is laid bare here. The regime is engaged in an incessant war of misinformation campaign by hiring the services of Dollar Crows by paying taxpayers money to them against the facts that are revealed here. Had CT were not there the woods would have been very silent and the deafening nuisance decibels of the regime would have reined!!!
We invoke may the strength and unassailability of truth grants its unstoppable kinetics on CT and confer invincibility against regime’s sword of censorship!
kalum bandara / September 3, 2013
c.t we are with you. divaina defence writer expose this sunil jayekara FMM. he went to buddagaya by miuhinlanka and bring 2large bags full of sarees its a free trip