Internet out in Jaffna, according to Free Media Movement

Posted on January 30, 2007  /  11 Comments

Free media Movement – Sri Lanka
Press Release

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 :,


  1. this fmm statement is extremely unclear.
    what exactly does it mean by the term ‘blocking internet access’ ? does that merely mean ppl cannot connect through dial up bc telephones are not working ? (adsl was not available there in any case) . if that is the case why is this focused on internet access and not on phones? after all then they are unable to talk. period. but that is in fact not the case.

    who says slt is the the sole internet provider in jaffna ? if i am in jaffna and have a phone line i can dial up with my dial up isp. why not ? explain.

    i think fmm and this blog should have checked and clarified from a authoritative source before making unjustified conclusions and propagating them.

  2. falseness of this fmm statement can be proved by a simple experiment .
    i called several ppl in jaffna i know who have slt telephones and all of them worked. they were not aware that there was any such block. anyone can do this check. pick a jaffna number and call, ask them to call back. if you do not know anyone call a commercial establishment . use the directory, see for yourself the falseness of this fmm statement.
    in addition slt in the form of official inquiries line deny that there is any such block and they too point out that jaffna lines are working. it would be interesting to know who at ‘anuradhpura’ confirmed this lie.
    pity that poster didi not think to check the facts

  3. We are not a news service with the resources or the obligation to check facts. In any case, the post clearly stated the source of the information. If anyone wants, they can do their own checking and post their conclusions here. This is what blogs are about.

    The poster appears to have not read the news release clearly. As the header that we placed states, the key point is the Internet, not phones.

    Previous posts on this blog (use Jaffna as a search term in our search box) have documented that most of the phones in Jaffna are mobile phones. However, it is also well known that most commercial establishments will connect to the Internet via fixed phones. SLTL is the major fixed line provider in Sri Lanka as well as in Jaffna.

  4. as pointed out in my first comment if existing land phones work ( and they in fact work just check) they can connect to any dial up isp. so the whole claim in the statement is false.

    good to know that you are open to publishing false propaganda from any source without checking.

  5. in other words it is false and disingenuous to make a distinction between phones and internet when it comes to dial up. you should know.

  6. Jaffna dial up and leaselines are blocked from Sunday. Any one can check with any jaffna based news papers or even Jaffna SLT office. FMM called Jaffna SLT offcie they comfirmed (unoffcially!) that all internet access are cutoff, most of the banks ATMs were not working till yesterday evening.

    Till this time no one can connect to internet /send recive e mail in jaffna.

    FMM statment does not say all SLT phones are out of order, only around 8000 phones are out of order from Sunday according to our statement. SLT lines starting with 021 222 2XXX and 3XXX are working but 021 222 4XXX/5XXX/6XXX/7XXX are not working, FMM was told that they were cut off for security reasons , and trying to restore lines to newspaers and banks only by this morning.

    FMM stand by the the statment, we are in touch with jaffna media community regularly, and our sourses are reliable although we donot want to name them at this time for obvious reasons.

  7. again a false claim, dial and see. some lines starting 021- 222- 4/6/— were definitely working. others too probably do. why not do some checking yourself instead letting me check.

    one can see disclaimers of fmm now ,trying to distance itself from the original claims . “till yesterday evening’, ‘trying to restore’, ‘unofficial’, etc etc. face the truth for once.

    and question i asked in the first comment if lines work, any isp can be dialed up to connect. there isn’t any difference from any other call. pl explain your original claim of internet blocking. (not to mention the false statement that slt is the only isp in jaffna)

    if you mean by jaffna media community – ltte propaganda you have been duped as usual.

  8. as for bank atms :-) local atm near here was not working yesterday night as well. does that mean telephones lines here ( north of colombo) were blocked? is this the way ppl( word journalist is wasted on you) confirm facts?
    btw slt definitely deny any blocking in spite of your claims that they confirm (unofficially ) after all how can they claim their lines were not working when they were in fact working.

  9. to summarize, following were observable about the fmm statement.
    1/ there wasn’t any any large scale ( or even small scale) blocking of slt telephones in jaffna as claimed by fmm . a simple check of dialing jaffna number and asking them to dial back will verify this, even for numbers later put forward by fmm
    2/ there wasn’t any ‘internet blocking’, in fact what fmm meant by this term is still a mystery. since internet in jaffna means dial up, jaffna users using slt lines had only to dial up any isp to connect as usual. ( same as anybody else using dial up in sri lanka).
    3/ slt is not the only isp in jaffna as claimed by fmm. if a phone has a dial tone the user can connect to any isp.
    4/ slt deny allegations of any blocking of telephones or internet, as anyone can verify by calling slt. fmm is reduced to hiding behind an unverifiable ‘unofficial’ confirmation.
    5/ no other respectable media outlet local or foreign has independently reported about such a block as claimed by fmm even though it was supposedly 3 days old. may be the fact that there was no such block has a lot to do with such non reposrting.
    6/ fmm forgets to note that mobiles, other fixed lines etc in jaffna were working perfectly as well during those three days.
    and finally
    7/ to claim “basic communications facilities to the Jaffna Peninsula have been blocked” as fmm did, just bc ltte propagandists claimed so, without checking facts is a deliberate falsehood unworthy of any self respecting journalist.

  10. some have brought to my attention that a news item appeared in the sunday times regarding this on 4th ( today), seven days after the alleged blocking.

    however only confirmation the reporter is able to offer is one from unofficial “senior officer of Sri Lanka Telecom Jaffna branch”. however as i said above slt still deny any such blocking as anybody can still confirm by calling them.

    also sunday times also say “Surprisingly, the TRC consumer complaints division has not yet received even a single complaint on the matter. ”
    this is not surprising if the lines were/are in fact working. as anybody can check by dialing the numbers.

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