FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SRI LANKA

For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

Sri Lanka Mirror website to take legal action

OLINDHI JAYASUNDERE
The Sri Lanka Mirror news website said yesterday that it was on the verge of shutting down as it was incurring losses after the government arbitrarily blocked the website along with four others and said it had filed a fundamental rights case regarding the matter.

The website’s Editor Kelum Shivantha said that the website had lost nearly all its advertising revenue due to the closure and would struggle to pay salaries to its staff, which numbers ten. “We stopped recruiting people on contract basis as well since we do not know what the future holds for the website. We continue to upload news on the site which can be accessed through a proxy site but we are on the verge of losing our clients and are struggling to maintain the website and fear that we may have to shut down in the near future,” Shivantha said.

He said that the Sri Lanka Mirror website, which was ranked fourth by the Alexa news website ratings locally, had now been relegated the 32nd spot after the website was arbitrarily blocked by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission on the basis that they were not registered. “We had requested the government to give an accreditation in July this year but had not received a response. After the website was blocked we sent several letters to the authorities but have still not received a response,” he said. He said days after the news websites were blocked they were informed that the sites could get registered within two weeks. We have got no response from them thereafter.

“The websites were blocked without a proper reason being given for it and without our knowledge. As a result of this we have been incurring heavy losses. That is why we are taking legal action,” he said.

Source: Daily Mirror – Sri Lanka

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