Sri Lanka media group challenges websites blocking
A media rights group has filed a court challenge over the Sri Lankan government’s blocking of five news websites for content that was deemed insulting, a spokesman said Tuesday.
The local Free Media Movement filed a fundamental rights application in the Supreme Court on Monday on the basis that the blockade breaches the people’s right to information and freedom of expression, the group’s convener, Sunil Jayasekara, said.
The Information and Media Ministry ordered the sites blocked last month, saying they committed character assassination and insulted people including key political leaders.
The sites blocked are
Rights groups criticized the move as undemocratic. Sri Lankan laws do not restrict the press from criticizing leaders, but media can be charged for defamation.
The ministry has also asked websites to register, a new requirement for websites, while older media formats such as new spapers, radio and television already have to register before they start opertating.