Fund Use

Feb 16, 2010 (LBO) – The World Bank said money given for Sri Lanka’s telecom regulator cannot be used for net censorship activities following reports that Chinese expertise would be hired to clamp down on web news portals. World Bank said it has giving a grant from its Institutional Development Fund for the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRC) to develop a regulatory framework for advanced telecom technology known as next generation networks (NGN).

“This consultancy does not include any provisions or scope to include Internet censorship and the Bank would not approve any such provision,” the World Bank said in a statement.

“No consultant has yet been hired for this assignment. The hiring can only be
completed with the final approval of the World Bank.”

News websites have complained of being blocked to users and authorities have also arrested surfers who used social networking sites in the run up to and after recent presidential polls. Media reports said Chinese expertise has been sought to police the internet, though a senior TRC official said there were no plans as yet to bring laws to clampdown on internet use.