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US ‘deeply concerned’ over Lanka’s media freedom

The United States says it is 'deeply concerned' by Sri Lanka’s latest move in stifling press freedom, by blocking anti-government website Lanka-e-News.

The statement, released by the US Embassy in Colombo said,

“While the Embassy does not endorse the views of any particular media outlet, the United States believes that a free and independent media is vital to ensuring the health and continuation of any democracy. 

Freedom of expression, including unfettered access to Internet news websites, is a basic right which must be respected.

In 2007, Tamil news website TamilNet was blocked by Sri Lanka and remains inaccessible from the island today. The site’s editor Sivaram Dharmaratnam was also murdered on the 28th April 2005.

Under Mahinda Rajapakse in 2009, Sri Lanka was ranked 162nd out of 175 countries by Reporters Without Borders, making it the “worst ranking of any democratic country”.

In their annual “Freedom of the Press” report, Freedom House declared Sri Lanka “Not Free”, placing it with countries such as North Korea, Iran and Somalia.

See our earlier post: “Status: Not Free” (Oct 2011)