Published On: Fri, Nov 10th, 2017

Blocking Lankaenews.com: TRCSL clueless

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) was not aware of whether the website, www.lankaenews.com, had been blocked.

There is an ongoing Supreme Court case against the website and its Editor, Sandaruwan Senadheera over the publication of articles that were allegedly to be of a defamatory nature and were contemptuous of Court. Sandaruwan Senadheera is currently residing in England. The website reportedly claimed that it had been banned following the publication of several articles about President Maithripala Sirisena.

When the former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power, the said website was banned, its office was set on fire, and certain journalists were arrested.

When queried as to whether the website had been blocked, the Director General of the TRCSL, P.R.S.P. Jayathilake said that, to his knowledge, the website hadn’t been blocked and asked whether a complaint had been lodged with the Commission regarding this.
The Director General of Government Information, Sudarshana Gunawardena was not available for comment. While Article 14(1) (a) of the Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech and expression including publication, Article 14A enshrines the right of access to information required for the exercise and protection of a citizen’s right. In the case of the latter, Section 5(4) of the Right to Information Act, No. 12 of 2016 states that “if the public interest overrides the harm resulting from disclosure such too is permissible.”

Constitutionally imposed restrictions on the exercise of the said fundamental rights include those that are lawfully prescribed in relation to the interests of racial and religious harmony, national security, territorial integrity and public safety, the protection of parliamentary privilege, the prevention of contempt of Court, defamation, incitement, disorder and crime, the protection of health and morals, the protection of the reputation, the rights of others, and privacy, the prevention of the disclosure of information communicated in confidence and for maintaining of the authority and impartiality of the judiciary, amongst others.

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