Sri Lanka under fire over Internet censorship

Sri Lanka's state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene (L) takes part in a press conference in Colombo on April 24, 2019. - A Sri Lankan security dragnet hunting those responsible for horrifying bombings that claimed more than 350 lives has scooped up a further 18 suspects, police said April 24, as pressure mounted on politicians to explain why no one acted on intelligence warnings. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

June 21, 2007 (AFP) – Media rights groups attacked Sri Lanka’s government Thursday for blocking domestic access to a website favouring the Tamil Tiger rebels and for saying it would like hackers to disable the site. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said Colombo should immediately unblock the Tamilnet.com website.

“Sri Lanka’s Internet service providers have been blocking access to the website on the government’s orders since June 15,” RSF said. “The government must put a stop to this censorship and restore access to the site at once.”

A local rights group, the Free Media Movement (FMM), also criticised government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella over comments in which he said he would “love” to hire hackers to pull down Tamilnet.

The FMM said Rambukwella’s statement was “tantamount to government sanctioned cyber-terrorism against websites that do not toe its line.”

“The FMM seeks urgent clarification from the government as to whether Minister Rambukwella’s comments are indicative of official government policy to shutdown, disrupt or censor content and websites on the Internet.”

But Sri Lanka’s Media Minister Anura Yapa insisted his ministry had nothing to do with preventing users of Sri Lanka T