16 October, 2019

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UNP Demands Mobile Networks Reveal Who Orders Internet Censorship

The UNP today accused the Rajapaksa regime for illegally blocking web-based media. “What began as the censorship of websites disseminating separatist propaganda, soon extended to the blockade of those spreading gossip and rumour. Today,the Government has taken the next logical step. It has begun the censorship of credible news sources available on the internet. The Colombo Telegraph, the Sri Lanka Mirror and the Sri Lanka Guardian are far above the standard of either Eelamist propaganda or gossip. The Colombo Telegraph is also a website that is a platform for varying shades of opinion, not all of them anti-Government.” the UNP said in a statement.

We publish below the statement in full;

The United National Party is deeply concerned of reports that state owned and private internet service providers are now colluding with the repressive Rajapaksa regime to curtail the freedom of information even further in this country. After years of using violence, intimidation and coercion to silence Sri Lanka’s mainstream media, the regime has turned its eyes completely on the web-based media, the last refuge of the country’s truth seekers and dissenters.

Rajapaksa

Rajapaksa

The Rajapaksa Government has been blocking the internet beginning since 2006, when hostilities resumed with the LTTE. Over the years, excusing its censorship with arguments that websites were scurrilous and defamatory, the Government has officially issued viewing bans on several Sinhala and English language websites that offer alternative news.

The UNP does not believe censorship is the answer, even when the media breaches ethical boundaries or publishes libelous material. Legal and regulatory avenues are available when the freedoms are abused and given the scope and breadth of the internet, it will never be an effective answer to simply censor specific websites.

As the party that repealed draconian criminal defamation laws that sought to muzzle the free press with threat of imprisonment, the UNP believes ideas should be defeated only ideologically and never by censorship, which is a tool of autocrats and those seeking to quash dissent and abuse power.

What began as the censorship of websites disseminating separatist propaganda, soon extended to the blockade of those spreading gossip and rumour. Today, the Government has taken the next logical step. It has begun the censorship of credible news sources available on the internet. The Colombo Telegraph, the Sri Lanka Mirror and the Sri Lanka Guardian are far above the standard of either Eelamist propaganda or gossip. The Colombo Telegraph is also a website that is a platform for varying shades of opinion, not all of them anti-Government.

The censorship of these websites are indubitable proof that the Rajapaksa Government’s true aim is to suppress all news sources who fiercely refuse to toe the regime’s propaganda line and those that continue to expose the truth and corruption rampant within the state machinery.

This is also why the censorship of these internet sources have been identified as being part of a trajectory towards autocracy and gross violations of the peoples’ right to know by the US State Department’s Human Rights Country report on Sri Lanka.

The censorship on all these websites is unofficially carried out by internet service providers and mobile networks. The Government refuses to officially notify the public of the censorship, because to acknowledge the blockade would be to acknowledge it is extending censorship to regular news sources. It will not be long before it is official newspaper websites that see similar censorship online when they publish stories unfavourable to the ruling dynasty.

More disturbing is the fact that private mobile and internet providers are adhering to the Government’s ‘unofficial’ ban. Questions posed to these providers and networks by angered viewers and customers, have elicited no response, or vague references to technical issues.

As this country’s main opposition, we demand that the mobile networks be accountable to the Sri Lankan public and their customer base. They need to reveal on what official instructions or court order they are implementing this illegal censorship. The TRC has maintained it knows nothing of the ban of the websites.

This country’s opposition demands to know whether the shareholders of these companies know of and approve this gross violation of their customers’ rights and privacy. It is a travesty that Sri Lanka’s corporates have bowed to Government pressure in this way, in breach of its trust contract with its customer base. It is hoped that while they may be powerless to refuse the Government orders, these companies will at the very least, have the courage enough to reveal to the general public and their customers the reasons for their repressive action. Do not become stakeholders in the ruling regime’s repression and stifling of freedom of expression.

Related stories;

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

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

  • 9
    0

    This Hambanthota “Gan Kabaraya” Villege Crocodile’s only ambition is to stay in power under any circumstances.
    Bugger still eat Thalaguli, Helapa and kurukkan Roti for Breakfast in the President’s house and wants others to do same. But goes to UN and tastes new wine, cheese and meatballs.
    Alibaba is nothing but a Greedy pig and a ACE CROOK big Liar who doesn’t care for the country and it’s people.
    His motive is Money, Prestige and Power at the expense of ruining our country.
    He thinks Sri Lanka is his Mother’s [Edited out] to play Cricket with.
    Let’s call Mahela, Sanga and Angelo to run our country.
    Jayawewa.

    • 5
      0

      Saman,
      You are absolutely correct.
      Here’s how Raja [Edited out] work in our country.

      While there is so much opposition in the country to the Rajapakse pro heroin government , it is rudely shocking that the rulers are yet making deplorable efforts to save the heroin underworld Kingpins by extending full legal protection to them, and even improvising laws to suit the heroin mafia leaders.
      Though the government gifted laptop journalists are also contributing to these disgraceful and most reprehensible aims by suppressing the shameful facts and acts of the government , Lanka e news deems it as its duty to reveal the truthful picture in respect of two such deplorable and disdainful cases within a week in the best interests of the country .
      The first manipulation : the tactics that are being adopted by the attorney general s (AG) department under Medamulana MaRa to rescue Sri Lanka s heroin dealer King pin Wele Sudha alias Samantha Kumara Vithanage and his wife Gayani Priyadharshani .

      Recently , the police anti narcotics bureau trapped a huge heroin network .The police following a raid conducted on a super luxury flat at 2000 Plaza near Jayawardena hospital took into custody about one kilo of heroin and a group engaged in the packing of heroin in packets factory. This was the first time in Sri Lanka the suspects were taken into custody while they were packing heroin into packets . Wele Sudha s wife was taken into custody, and the properties bought out of the sale proceeds of heroin were also confiscated thereafter.
      After this operation the narcotics bureau submitted its full report to the AG s department, because , thereafter it is the AG s department that ought to institute legal action against the criminals.
      Based on the evidence forwarded by the narcotics bureau , the AG s dept. commenced its litigation process. But this beginning marked its end too. That is the AG department had filed action in a manner that would help the horse to escape from its stable.

      The AG s department had filed three cases in respect of the charges which could all have been included in one case. The case production therefore was noted in the lists of several cases. Consequently , the court production pertaining to one case had been entered in another case, whereby the case had been filed in such a muddled up manner that it is most favorable to the suspects , because of the numerous technical defaults and defects that had been made to creep in.
      The most baffling part of this heroin drama enacted by our ruling heroes is , the assigning of a junior about 25 years old female lawyer (the villainous heroine) of the AG s dept. to prosecute this massive heroin mafia operation case. She had appeared on the scene and started blaming the officers of the anti narcotics bureau. Believe it or not , she had brazenly asked , who is this Wele Sudha? How can you say that (gentle)man is a heroin trafficker ? It is all of you who have got together and made that (gentle)man a heroin dealer.
      The crucial question raised by all was ,whether this state counsel was representing the state on behalf of the AG against Wele Sudha or acting for and on behalf of Wele Sudha ? Her conduct had created grave problems to the anti narcotics bureau officers who toiled .
      This cannot be just a routine lapse because the AG s department is absolutely under Medamulana MaRa . This t is based on his advice to get the case fouled up and allow it to slip out . Meanwhile some other website reported that a luxury house in Colombo belonging to Sudha , was transferred to the Bribery and corruption commissioner because Sudha feared that house too will be confiscated.

      Wele Sudha is currently living abroad , and his wife Priyadharshini is in custody in SL. We give hereunder the colossal wealth and assets amassed by them with the collaboration of this kudu (heroin) government :
      Two houses in Kollupitiya worth Rs. 50.5 million
      One house in Colombo 07 worth Rs. 25 million.
      One house in Rajagiriya worth Rs. 20 million
      One house in Pannipitiya worth Rs. 15 million.
      One house in Madiwela worth Rs. 10 million
      Land at Dehiwala worth Rs. 16 million
      Land at Nedimala worth Rs. 14 million
      One BMW car worth Rs. 20 million
      One Prado jeep worth Rs. 15 million
      One jeep worth Rs. 12 million
      Funds in account of Kollupitiya People s bank Rs. 18.2 million
      Value of foreign currencies found in the Kollupitiya house Rs. 9.1 million
      The value of gold found in the Kollupitiya house Rs. 20.1 million
      The total value-Rs. 244 million .

      This incident among the many that have gone undetected , bear ample testimony that the Medamulana Rajapakses are like how they are conferring diplomatic immunity on the foreign diplomats are granting immunity to heroin Kingpins and dealers from arrest and punishment via the courts.
      It is significant to note that recently , the leader of the JHU Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera accused that two containers with goods were released to two sons of Ministers without inspection by the Customs , and it is possible that those containers were loaded with heroin and /or arms. Anyway , at the same time it is interesting to note that the JHU which is aware of all the frauds and corruption of the government still continues to jack up the government like partners in crimes cannot separate.
      Jayawewa Silly Silly Lanka.

    • 5
      0

      Here’s another Hambanthota Gan Kabaraya’s off springs do illicit business in Sri Lanka.

      MP Namal Rajapaksa and agriculture minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena are involved in a clash over the re-export of arecanuts to India under the SAFTA.
      Under a license to import arecanuts, a businessman friend of MP Namal had brought in five containerloads, but the agriculture minister had not allowed the arecanuts to be released by the customs, claiming they are contraband.

      It is Chamuditha Samarawickrama, former TNL mediaman, using his clouts with Mahinda Yapa, who enjoys the monopoly to import arecanuts from other countries and re-export them to India. Samarawickrama is a key figure among journalists-turned-businessmen, who have cultivated political contacts through the media and used them to gain business opportunities.
      Making use of his connections with minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and commerce and industries minister Risath Badurdeen, Samarawickrama has got the permission to re-export areca, for one Thadikin, the owner of a business called Wayamba Traders. In order to hang onto that monopoly, Samarawickrama is using the media friendly with him to publish reports against the businessman-friend of MP Namal.

      He has given information to the media to the effect that attempts were being made to free five containerloads of arecanuts imported without permission from the agriculture and commerce ministries. It has been claimed a license is needed to import arecanuts as per the Plant Quarantine Act, and that it is illegal to import arecanuts without quarantine tests as arecanuts can contain an insect that destroys coconut, arecanuts, maize and other crops. The president has personally asked the agriculture minister to release the arecanuts, but the latter has refused, saying he would not allow illegal acts.

      Jayawewa Hambanthota Gan Kabaraya.

    • 2
      1

      What has happened to the Adaderana Website?

    • 1
      0

      @Saman, machan you are too funny. I realize the message you wrote above is quite true. But the words are so funny I am still cracking up. Good one, keep these coming machan. Mahindarajoo always looks confused looking at an electronic gadget. He has amazing techno gurus in his government like Karuna amma, Pilayan, Dr. Mervin Silva, KP and many other, he should take some crash courses from these 21st century Bill Gates.

  • 6
    0

    The UNP as a Political Party-in-Waiting should bring this news block by the MR government,to the attention of the UN and all other international bodies.
    Will they have the guts to do this?

    • 2
      1

      I doubt it. After all they arranged the murder of journalist Richard de Zoysa.

      • 5
        0

        Yes the UNP under Premadasa MR’s cousin same style of governance killed Richard De Soyza. But under MR the list is too long to mention here starting with Lasantha Wickrematunge.

        Now this Mati Mola will come out with Batalanda to accuse Ranil but has no substance as the Commission acquitted RW of all the false charges, yet these imbeciles sulk! with nothing else to blame RW. Pathetic indeed!

  • 3
    0

    Shareholders of Dialogue should demand that the CEO reveal the source of unofficial orders to block internet sites. Also should be brought to the notice of Malaysian Directors and Dialog Malaysia. Same for Etisalat.

  • 2
    0

    Here’s how Jarapassa clan illegally monitor and censure other’s private phone calls.

    National List UNP MP Harsha de Silva yesterday alleged that his telephone was being tapped by the State Intelligence Service(SIS).
    ‘You and I are both being listened to by the SIS. This is the type of democracy that the Rajapaksa regime boasts of’, De Silva told The Island when he was contacted over developments pertaining to the on going Western Provincial Council Election campaign. Asked why his phone was being monitored, he replied, ‘I made a public statement last week that the China Communication and Construction Company which has been given the contract to reclaim 580 acres of land from the sea for the construction of the Colombo Port City Project, had been blacklisted by the World Bank until 2017 for allegedly committing a fraud in the Philippines. Thereafter some websites reported that the Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa had ordered my arrest for inciting the public. The IGP subsequently denied that there was any such moves, but my phone has been tapped ever since.’
    ‘How could my revelation be tantamount to inciting the masses?’ he queried. ‘I should be thanked for providing the government with important information in the national interest and instead of being harassed in this manner.’

  • 2
    0

    UNP and Colombo Telegraph,

    RE: UNP Demands Mobile Networks Reveal Who Orders Internet Censorship.

    So this in the New State Censorship Index.

    Index Librorum Prohibitorum of the current Sri Lanka State.

    1. Colombo Telegraph,
    2. Sri Lanka Mirror
    3. Sri Lanka Guardian
    4. Others?

    So what do they want to hide. What lies do they want to keep perpetuating? Alternative opinions, facts and busting of myths is not terrorism, but censorship of alternative opinions.

    1. Monk Mahanama Sinhala Buddhist Myths and Imaginations.

    2. Sinhala Myths and Imaginations and Racism.

    The Church prevented bools on the Solar Centric Model to be published, because it was against Church Doctrine.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Index_Librorum_Prohibitorum

    The Index Librorum Prohibitorum (English: List of Prohibited Books) was a list of publications deemed heretical, anti-clerical or lascivious, and therefor banned by the Catholic Church.[1] A first version (the Pauline Index) was promulgated by Pope Paul IV in 1559, and a revised and somewhat relaxed form (the Tridentine Index) was authorized at the Council of Trent. Historian Paul F. Grendler believed that the promulgation of the Index marked “the turning-point for the freedom of enquiry in the Catholic world”.[1]

    The 20th and final edition appeared in 1948, and the Index was formally abolished on 14 June 1966 by Pope Paul VI.[2][3][4]

    The aim of the list was to protect the faith and morals of the faithful by preventing the reading of heretical and immoral books. Books thought to contain such errors included some scientific works by leading astronomers such as Johannes Kepler’s Epitome astronomiae Copernicianae, which was on the Index from 1621 to 1835, and leading philosophers like Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. The various editions of the Index also contained the rules of the Church relating to the reading, selling and pre-emptive censorship of books—editions and translations of the Bible that hadn’t been approved by the Church could be banned.[5]

  • 1
    0

    UNP, finally peeking out its shell and developing a backbone?? Still too early to be optimistic.

  • 3
    0

    Very glad to see how everyone see things and collect all the information for serious change. It is only possible with everyone’s participation. I don’t think it can be done by UNP alone. As this regime is following a suicidal path, they will end up in hell. however, who is going to come to power? Don’t think UNP or the JVP is going to solve our problems. (UPFPA or SLFP and old left is out of service). There are many opportunistic individuals who play the game today with Rajapaksha regime will definitely change the color at a right time. The same faces ( who ever make living with public money and power has no way to go other than New rule) Then what we are spoke here, or what we have work for is going to be a waste. If people do not act now and say what they need and what they are looking forward is going to be another turn for this same individuals.

  • 0
    0

    As per the reports in this Colombo telegraph and the reports, i feel that its not just anti government its anti Sri Lankans. most of the reporters appears to be Pro LTTE supporters. i do not see any balance in these article instead it work towards a cause to achieve.. if the government is not guilty on any accusation it need not to worry about such reports. government should not follow stupid tactics as such.

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