Sri Lanka blocks Tamil news website

Susantha Ratnayake, Chairman, BOI formally presents the Certificate of Registration to Indra Silva, Chairman, Indra Hotels and Resorts Kandy (Pvt) Ltd

June 20, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka Telecom, the country’s largest Internet service provider, has blocked a pro-rebel website on government orders, a source at the company said Wednesday. A Sri Lanka Telecom executive, who declined to be named, said the website has been blocked for several days on the “advice” of the government.

The London-based Tamilnet.com, which publishes news and opinion about the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, confirmed its site was blocked.

“The de facto climate of self-censorship that has already plagued local media in Sri Lanka has now culminated in mischievous infringement into the freedom of global media,” it said.

A spokesman for the government, which owns just under 50 percent of Sri Lanka Telecom, was not immediately available for comment.

The Sri Lanka-based Free Media Movement said it was “deeply disturbed” to learn that the website was blocked.

“This is a significant turn in the erosion of media freedom in Sri Lanka and clearly demonstrates the extent to which media is censored,” the media group said in a statement.

Some Internet service providers in the country still allow access to the website, which is an influential source