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World bank grant to help Sri Lanka block websites?

February 14, 2010

The following article is reprinted with permission from TamilNet. Embedded text links appear in original article.

World bank grant to help Sri Lanka block websites?
©  TamilNet
February 14, 2010

Experts from China Military Intelligence Division is expected to be in Sri Lanka in the next two weeks to map out the modalities required for blocking what Colombo has termed “offensive” websites, media in Colombo reported. The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) which is tasked to introduce new regulations on the functioning of websites received a grant from the Institutional Development Fund (IDF) under the World Bank to implement the “second generation” regulatory reforms, according to a weekly paper.

“Newly appointed TRC Director General, Anusha Pelpita, who is also the director of Government Information, said he has not received instructions from the President to impose such restrictions on news websites but he did not rule out the possibility of imposing sanctions and censorship,” the paper said.

The first website to come under Rajapakse’s cyber-axe was TamilNet which was blocked by Government directive to ISPs (Internet Service Providers) on 19 June 2007. While cyber-savvy users have found workarounds to access the site using one of many thousands proxy’s available for free, Colombo has been tightening the noose around other sites and have arrested editors running sites that the ruling Rajapakse family found threat to “national security.”

Colombo arrested Jeyaprakash Tissainayagam in March 2008 on trumped up charges, and the subservient judiciary accepted coerced evidence to jail the journalist, effectively shutting down his publication Northeastern Herald and his website Outreachsl.com. Colombo charged that Tissainayagam incited communal disharmony with two of his editorials in Northeastern monthly.

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