Sri Lanka media rights body slams moves to block internet

June 20, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Free Media Movement (FMM) has slammed a move to block access to a Tamil news internet website , saying that the country was on a “slippery slope of web and internet censorship”. .

The full statement from FMM is reproduced below:

The Free Media Movement is deeply disturbed to learn that Tamilnet – a web based Tamil news website, is now being blocked by all major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Sri Lanka on the orders of the government.

This is a significant turn in the erosion of media freedom in Sri Lanka and clearly demonstrates the extent to which media is censored and the free flow of information curtailed, without any accountability, transparency or judicial oversight.

Tamilnet is one of most widely visited and well-known news websites in Sri Lanka. Hosted abroad, the website is frequented by journalists from all ethnicities, civil society and the donor and diplomatic community as well as the diaspora for situation updates, analysis and feature articles.

Popularised from relative obscurity by the late Tamil journalist Sivaram Dharmaratnam, who up until his murder in April 2005 was its Editor. Though widely consi