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One year on, independent news website remains blocked

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders calls on the Sri Lankan authorities to stop blocking the Lanka News Web site at once. Sri Lanka Telecom, the country's main Internet service provider, has been blocking the online newspaper's access since 11 July 2009.

In an interview for Reporters Without Borders, Lanka News Web editor Chandima Withanaarachchi talks about its editorial policies and the probable reasons for the government's persecution of the site. He also describes the press freedom situation and the difficulties for journalists in Sri Lanka. The government has been trying to assert control over online media since its military victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels and the ensuing presidential election, which was accompanied by propaganda and intimidation of the news media.

Three other independent news websites - Lanka-e-News, Infolanka and Sri Lanka Guardian - were also blocked on 26 January 2010, shortly before the election results were announced. Lanka News Web is the only one that is still inaccessible inside Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was on the list of "countries under surveillance" in the latest Reporters Without Borders report on "Enemies of the Internet."

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