Statements   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Web sites blocked amid election

We issued this statement today after journalists in Sri Lanka told CPJ that access to several independent Web sites had been blocked as the country finished voting in presidential elections...

“Reports that several English and Sinhalese-language independent Web sites have been blocked are alarming,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “The Independent Election Commission and the Sri Lankan government must act immediately to make sure there are no restrictions on the media — broadcast, print, or digital — as presidential vote counting goes ahead.”
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The blocking of opposition websites does not surprise me with the following reported in the media:
1. During the polls, the incumbent president was shown on state-run televisions oofering prayers in the temples depicting him as a pure soul devoid of violence, cronysm, corruption and nepotism.
2. Three and a half hour of bomb blasts in the north to intimidate Tamil voters and cut down on turnout (18%)
3. Paramilitary associated with the ruling party were seen distributing 'boycott election' pamphlets to voters.
4. Paramilitary associated with the ruling party was seen intimidating voters in the eastern province.

We await a change in government tomorrow.

This mother of all elections since independence is the first time Tamils will opt for a Sinhala presidential nominee since independence in 1948.

Tamils have no choice but to vote for the better of the two evils.

Current President Mahinda Rajapakse has lost his trust through nepotism (four of his siblings holding ministerial portfolio controlling 70% percent of the national budget) suppression of media and widespread corruption so much so Tamils are banking on the army commander who ironically delcared that Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhalese but he woudl accommodate Tamils too.

Postal votes results show that Jaffna, the Tamil heartland has voted for Sarath Fonseka, the army commander who is credited with vanquishing th LTTE armed rebellion which held sway for nigh on 30 years.

But voters have been scared off with at least 10 gun blasts prior to voting.

Splinter paramilitary Tamil groups who are siding with the President are reported to be intimidating voters there.

This election was seriously flawed in that President used 30 days of his campaigning at the expense of public purse utilising all state media organs.

Also, journalists were handcuffed by blocking websites, abduction and intimidation.

Latest reports reveal the army cmmander has been surrounded by the military.

Foreign Minster is questioning the credibility of the army commander who was denied voting rights citing his name was not in the electoral register although the Army Commander says he registered in 2008 and that he was on the battle filed manning ground operation fighting the LTTE.

There is still no news of the Lanka-e-news journalist and political analyst who went missing on Sunday.

The climate in Sri Lanka is one of uncertainty and in the case of the army commander coming to power Foreign Minaster hopes to seek the judgement of the Supreme Court to nullify his victory.

He has already said the elections commissioner's word the army commander has no restrictions on his being the presidential candidate althoug hhe had not cast his vote.

Pearl Thevanayagam January 26, 2010 4:45:30 PM ET

another pathetic lie . everyone can see we can access the websites . even some foreign reporters here for election checked this and found the claim false . but shameless racists here will repat any lie against us sri lanaksn .

hypocrites will also 'block' this comment if fate of my previous comments exposing falsehoods and errors here were any guide.