For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack (DDoS), identified by the service provider of TamilNet as originating in an orchestrated way from certain affluent parts of the world, has been disrupting web traffic of TamilNet.com since Saturday. The attack on the independent media reporting to the world on Tamil affairs coincides with the opening of the 19th sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) in Geneva on Monday, where the USA and Sri Lanka have already pitched positions in hijacking the focus of issues concerning the cause of genocide-affected Eezham Tamils. TamilNet has been forced to seek expert services in regularising the web traffic. As a media arguing for Eezham Tamil public to take up the issues into their hands, TamilNet depends on the support of nobody other than the Tamil masses and the alternative world.
TamilNet Editorial Board
In the past too, TamilNet in its 15-years of web transmission had been targeted to similar web attacks, but in minor scale.
Sri Lanka has been blocking the web traffic of TamilNet inside the island since June 2007.
In the long struggle of Eezham Tamils, in the pre-Internet era, regimes in Colombo were jamming broadcasts including those of the Tamil services of the BBC and Radio Veritas.
TamilNet was blocked in Sri Lanka, but still it was able to relay to the world the first hand coverage of the war, at a time when the Colombo regime and its abetters wanted to conduct a genocidal war without witnesses. The regional media in the subcontinent and the international media either could not challenge or didn’t want to challenge the ‘experiment’ of Colombo and the powers in complicity.
Indirectly admitting the Internet censorship on TamilNet, Sri Lankan Media Minister and former military spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella then said, as reported by the BBC: “We are looking for hackers to disable the TamilNet but could not find anyone yet.”
The web attack on TamilNet now, which in magnitude surpasses all the earlier attacks even during the Vanni War, shows only the level of anxiety over the current post-war manoeuvrings in the paranoid camps, guilty of genocide, but remain either inimical or stuck to deterrent towards justice to the cause of Eezham Tamils.
TamilNet has also faced crippling murderous attacks.
On 19 October 2000, BBC’s Jaffna correspondent Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, who was also one of the ground reporters of TamilNet was shot and killed in Jaffna, controlled by Sri Lanka’s military.
Almost five years later, on 28 April 2005, Sivaram Dharmeratnam, a senior editor of TamilNet, was abducted and assassinated in Colombo and his body was later found in the high security zone behind the Sri Lankan parliament in Colombo.
Later, during the Rajapaksa regime, media in Colombo was also targeted through assassinations and web attacks. The target of attacks included the ones even supporting the wartime SL commander Sarath Fonseka.
Eezham Tamils have noticed a difference in response from the Establishments, their media and human rights organisations advocating media freedom, between attacks that have taken place against Colombo-centric media and attacks against the media orientated to the national cause of Eezham Tamils.
Upholding the state either by genocide or by any other artful means conceived by the Establishments is progressive or moderate that needs voices of protection. But upholding the national cause of genocide-affected Eezham Tamils and exposing the culprits deterring it, or revealing the on-going structural genocide, is ‘terrorist’, pro-LTTE or pro-rebel.
Even when there are no visible signs of the presence of the LTTE, TamilNet has been deliberately tagged with the ‘taboo’ or is subjected to blackout, calculated disregard etc., not only by the genocidal state in the island but also by powers, personalities formerly associated with the moves of the Co-Chairs, international organisations including those who claim speaking on human rights and by the mainstream news agencies as well as media that play the second fiddle.
Then, why the present international web attack of cowardice on TamilNet, needs perusal by our readers and the alternative world.
Right from the inception, TamilNet has been functioning on a very low budget and without the benefits of advertisement, just because of maintaining its independence in the times of ‘funded’ organisations and institutions. It will remain so.
It has been depending only on the support of the masses and genuine philanthropists among them who don’t intend ‘strings’ attached to their support whether material or otherwise. TamilNet will personally reach out to them with authentication when needed.
Our readers and the alternative world are requested to understand the times, the plight of TamilNet and the universal free media experiment for a righteous cause involved in the entire process, in showing their solidarity.