Serious questions have been raised in Sweden’s Foreign ministry, after a Swedish media organisation raised the story of Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala’s unethical role as a director of Dialog Axiata PLC, a Sri Lankan digital communications provider which is illegally blocking access to a number of major news websites, the Colombo Telegraph has learnt.
Dhanapala serves on the board of the Swedish Peace Research Institute, (SIPRI) which receives its core funding from the Swedish Government. When contacted for comment by the media organisation “Sydasien“, director of SPRI, had replied through his communications director, to say, “Jayantha Dhanapala is a former Assistant Director-General for Disarmament in the UN and the current president of Pugwash Conferences. SIPRI relies fully on the Swedish government’s decision regarding the appointment of members of the Board”
Nevertheless, the matter continues to be pursued by the Swedish Foreign Ministry.
Under the headline “SIPRI director involved in the strangulation of the Internet in Sri Lanka” Sydasien wrote; “Freedom on the web is a primary concern for Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Bildt. Foreign Ministry holds high the banner and propagate internationally for online freedom. The government stresses freedom online as a cornerstone of democratic development. It is Foreign Ministry who appoints board members to SIPRI .The Vice President of SIPRI, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, now identified as involved in the process known as ‘internet enemies’ can be seen as embarrassing to the organization’s credibility.” ( Translated from Swedish to English using google)
A number of Sri Lankan intellectuals have spoken out about the ethical incongruity of Dhanapala’s role on the board of Dialog while being a key member of Friday Forum a vocal, high profile Sri Lankan civil society lobby group.
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
Fourth – August 23, 2013 – Colombo Telegraph Blocked, How To Reach Us Now: Sri Lanka Telecom And Mobitel Joins The DPI Club!