Free media Movement – Sri Lanka
30 January 2007
Internet facilities and 8,000 telephones cut off in Jaffna Peninsula
The Free Media Movement (FMM) is deeply disturbed to learn that basic communications facilities to the Jaffna Peninsula have been blocked from 28th January 2007. Internet facilities and around 8,000 landline telephones of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) are dysfunctional to date. SLT, jointly owned by the Sri Lankan Government and Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corporation (NTT) of Japan, is the sole Internet provider in Jaffna Peninsula with a population of around 600,000 according to official statistics.
The FMM was told that there is no official decision by the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority to block communications in this manner in the Peninsula.
However, a number of citizens in Jaffna and journalists confirm that there is no Internet access in Jaffna for the past 3 three days, when contacted through mobile phones. SLT Jaffna office told FMM that for security reasons SLT link to Jaffna has been disconnected form Anuradhapura, a north central city.
Two Tamil newspapers, Sudaroli and Thinankkural told FMM that they are unable to receive or send any news and photos to their other newspapers in their media group by email since Sunday. Freelance and independent journalists based in Jaffna also cannot send any photos by email or access Internet.
FMM notes that the freedom to receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers is enshrined as a fundamental right in Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also note that given the context of uncertainty and fear, access to and the dissemination of accurate information through the media is of paramount importance in securing human rights and human security in the Peninsula.
Accordingly, the FMM strongly urges the relevant authorities to take immediate steps to reconnect the Jaffna peninsula by unblocking access to the Internet and facilitating unrestricted access to basic telephony in the region.
for more information – (+94) 777 315665 Spokesperson- S. Sivakumar 0777 315665
Convenor – Sunanda Deshapriya ( 0777 312457) – Secretary – Sunil Jayasekara ( 011 2851672/3)
No. 237/22, Wijeya Kumaratunga Road, Colombo – 05., Email : firstname.lastname@example.org,