Tamilnet blocked in Sri Lanka
On Wednesday,The Free Media Movement issued a statement saying that they are deeply disturbed to learn that Tamilnet, a Tamil news website, is blocked by all major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Sri Lanka on the orders of the government.
Free Media Movement say, "The ban on Tamilnet is the first instance of what the FMM believes may soon be a slippery slope of web & Internet censorship in Sri Lanka".
The government came under international criticism for curbing media freedom in the country at recent hearings in the European Parliament and the UN.
In their statement free media say that, "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 about Sri Lanka. Many media people and diplomats regularly visit the site.
Editor abducted and killed
In 2005, the editor of Tamilnet Dharmalingam Sivaram was abducted and killed by unknown gunmen in April 2005. His body was found near the parliament inside the high security zone. The police is yet to find the assassins.
When questioned by media, minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that he was not aware of the shut down. "We are looking for hackers to disable the Tamilnet but could not find anyone yet" the minister said.
The ban occured at a time when an International Mission on Press Freedom and the Freedom of Expression is in Sri Lanka. They are in the country to observe media freedom and the allegations of violence against journalists.
However many other pro Tamil Tiger websites including the LTTE official website remain unblocked to browsers in Sri Lanka.