Online News Portals Temporarily Blocked in Sri Lanka

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned by reports that access to

independent news portals Groundviewsand

Vikalpawas temporarily blocked on

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) ADSL on June



The two news portals are among the

few openly critical media outlets in the country. The award-winning citizen

journalism portal Groundviews, published

in English,and the Sinhala-language partnersite Vikalpa are hosted by non-government

organisation the Centre for Policy Alternatives in Colombo.


The Sri Lankan

website of corruption watchdog Transparency International was also temporarily

blocked on SLT ADSL. All three websites are now accessible in Sri Lanka,

though it remains unclear whether the outage was the result of a government

directive as is widely believed, or a technical fault.


“In a media landscape riddled with

fear and self-censorship, the IFJ hopes the temporary blockage of important

sites that support uncompromising voices was an aberration, and not an

indication of things to come,” IFJ Asia-Pacific



Other critical news media have been

blocked by the Government previously, with Tamilnet, Lanka

News Web and Sri Lanka Guardian all permanently



Online news portal Lanka-e-News has been temporarily blocked several

times, most recently on April

28, when a Magistrate’s Court ordered Sri Lanka’s

Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) to suspend the organisation’s

online services.


The ban came after journalist

Shantha Wijesooriya was charged with contempt of court. It was lifted on May 12

when the charges were dropped, after Lanka-e-News

published a retraction and two apologies for the report in question.


Groundviews moved to quickly

establish a mirror site at during the outage, and has instructions for circumventing any future blockages

on its website.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +61 2 9333 0919



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