Censorship of LIRNEasia book gets media coverage

Posted on March 23, 2008  /  9 Comments

Sri Lanka using customs authorities to censor academics: report – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE

Another book by Rohan Samarajiva, from LirneAsia, a Colombo-based regional policy think tank, had been detained by customs from December.

Samarajiva’s book, “ICT infrastructure in emerging Asia, Policy and Regulatory roadblocks” released by the Indian unit of academic publishing house, Sage, was launched in India in December.

Sri Lanka;s customs chief Sarath Jayathilake was quoted in the report as saying that the detention was not brought to his attention and he was not aware why the books were seized.

“We usually detain these books if it’s a matter of security and we refer them to Defence (Ministry) or the Government Information Department,” Jayathilake was quoted as saying.

The LirneAsia publication had a chapter on telecommunications usage in the Jaffna peninsular.

“Our book has nothing about the conflict, other than a single chapter that I co-authored on teleuse between the wars in the government areas of Jaffna,” Samarajiva wrote in the LirneAsia website, questioning what moral or legal right Sri Lanka customs had to censor academic works.

Powered by ScribeFire.


  1. And an ineffective censorship at that, as the chapter is freely available online, and more Sri Lankans will likely have access to that version than the book.

    Chapter 3: I Just Called to Say: Teleuse under a Ceasefire
    by Rohan Samarajiva, Mariam Hameed, and Ayesha Zainudeen


  2. Confiscating the hardcopies is a mindless bureaucratic giant leap to nowhere. It is also an example of governmental ignorance about the power of internet. Sri Lanka is not the only example of such foolishness. Technology empowers us to bypass the idiots. Welcome to the new millennium!

  3. Copies have not been confiscated. They are just reading them page by page, every copy, not knowing that they are identical copies. Poor customs officials. My heart goes out to them.

  4. You are wrong. We are not stupid to read every book. We just wanted to read one copy but as you can understand, it takes time to get it translated to Sinhala. Our boss does not know English, so you have to wait till the translations come.

    If you feel so sorry for us, publish your next book in Sinhala. Then we can release it quickly too.

    (I thank my eight year old son for posting this comment for me.)

  5. why not published it in Tamil. The custom officer will have to learn Tamil from grade one by the time he finish reading the book the contents will be out dated and we will be moved to a different planet

  6. This is hilarious.