Nov 14, Colombo: The anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) said it is deeply concerned by the blocking of the website Lanka E News purportedly by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), and urged the government to immediately revoke any steps taken to arbitrarily censor the news website.
In a statement TISL called on the TRCSL and the government to immediately provide clarity on the arbitrary blocking of the Lanka E News website and the legal provisions under which such a step has been taken.
"TISL highlights that the clandestine censorship of the media is completely contrary to the principles of accountable governance and the rule of law. Such arbitrary actions serve to jeopardize the spirit of openness that led to the constitutional guarantee of the Right to Information and the landmark passage of the Right to Information Act," the statement said.
The anti-corruption organization pointed out that while it is important to prevent misinformation, this should not come at the expense of the freedom of expression.
"TISL acknowledges that the media based in Sri Lanka is subject to an accountability mechanism, while websites based overseas are not held to the same standard. However, the distinction between information and misinformation is one that must be made by prudent consumers, and not through arbitrary censorship."
TISL called on the government to immediately revoke any steps taken to arbitrarily censor any medium of information.