Net Monitoring

Feb 14, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s telecom regulatory authority has not received orders to devise a law to control internet news websites, though monitoring cannot be ruled out in the future, a top official said. “There is nothing in the cards,” Anusha Pelpita, director general the Telecom Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRC) said.

“Monitoring websites is not in the TRC mandate. Even if we wanted to, it will take several months to bring in such legislation.”

Pelpita said there were websites that were spreading false information but he had no knowledge of reports that Chinese expertise had been sought by the state to find ways to control news portals.

The reports also said news portals would be made to register with the TRC, be hosted on local servers and some keywords on search engines such as Google would also be blocked or tracked Chinese style.

“I have met no Chinese,” Pelpita said. “There were however some pornographic sites that authorities were examining at one time.”

Rights bodies have raised concerns about increasing curbs on media freedom and net censorship in Sri Lanka, with some websites already being blocked for users by internet service providers.

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