On World Consumer Rights day, Colombo Telegraph wishes to make reference to the plight of Sri Lankan consumers who have failed to raise the ongoing illegal censorship by internet service providers and mobile networks with the agency tasked with protecting the rights of consumers in the country.
World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is an awareness day, which is observed on March 15. The WCRD was first celebrated in 1983 and is an opportunity for promoting the basic rights of all consumers, demanding that those rights are respected and protected and protesting about the market abuses and social injustices which undermine them.
In Sri Lanka however consumers have been denied their basic rights by a number of internet service providers who have blocked access to certain websites including the Colombo Telegraph for several months without any legal or moral justification. For months Sri Lanka Telecom, Dialog and Etisalat have been denying their paying customers the right to access this website. When customers inquire into this they get a standard answer that some websites are inaccessible due to technical difficulties. Curiously these technical difficulties are only faced when attempting to access independent news websites and some anti-government sites.
It is reliably learnt that these service providers are carrying out instructions from the government, the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission in particular, in an attempt to stifle the flow of information. Several individuals have attempted to engage the culprit companies through social media but there has been no response from them. Several tweets directed at the official twitter handles of the companies have produced no results. Sadly no customer has had the confidence to seek legal redress for the injustice done to them due to the compromised judicial system of the country.
*Photo credit the Nation – K.A. Dharmadasa is a vegetable vendor at the Jathika Pola