Perhaps one reason allegations of web censorship are growing in Sri Lanka is because purely web based media shows a very high readership when compared to traditional (English) print media published on the web.
Taken from Alexa.com, this graph (click on image for larger version) clearly shows that over the past six months, Lankaenews is the most popular amongst other well recognised Sri Lankan web media. None of these websites is a broadsheet or has a print media presence in Sri Lanka. Lankaenews gets significant higher pageviews than Infolanka, which in second place is in turn well above the rest. Lanka Dissent in third place seems to be tied with Tamilcanadian. In fact, Lankaenews gets even more pageviews that the Daily Mirror website, which I found very surprising (click image below to enlarge).
This is no mean feat, since the Daily Mirror website has a commanding lead over all other well read English news dailies in Sri Lanka (click image below to enlarge).
What would be interesting to gauge, impossible using Alexa, is the breakdown between domestic and international traffic on both Lankaenews and the Daily Mirror. I have a hunch that it may be in the case of both around a 60 / 40 split, with 60 percent coming from abroad and 40 percent local.
In any case, what this clearly demonstrates is that in terms of readership, purely web based media can and do compete well with the traditional print media presence on the web. With its influence, reach and readership growing, small wonder that a repressive regime is getting worried about that which is published online.
With the Daily Mirror introducing citizen journalism aspects to its reporting and a revamped website along the lines of a blog, it’s quite clear that traditional media is learning from new media upstarts on the web.
Where do you think this will all lead in Sri Lanka?