Blocking websites like Colombo Telegraph clearly shows the increasing authoritarian tendencies of the Rajapaksa regime, the leader of the opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe told ColomboTelegraph.
Condemning Rajapaksa regime’s move to block websites, the UNP leader Wickremesinghe said; “The degree of censorship in Sri Lanka has gone from bad to very grave.”
Speaking from the Center for International Studies at MIT, he said; “I will hold discussion with the party’s parliamentary group on the issue and will discuss what action we can take”
“Today, the World Press Freedom day, I demand Rajapaksa regime to stops its attacks on freedom of expression – on social media, the broadcast and print media to respect People’s Right to Know”, he added.
The Telecom Regulatory Commission has officially issued instructions to internet 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.
According to the annual index of media freedom, published on Wednesday by the US-based Freedom House, Sri Lanka’s score slipped by another 2 points, from 74 to 76, marking a dramatic decline of 20 points over the last decade.
Sri Lanka has slipped down the global rankings for freedom of the press as a result of increased harassment of both local and foreign journalists trying to cover protests and sensitive news stories, as well as attacks on printing and distribution channels for private media and blocks on web content, led to a more constricted space for independent news.