Banning Sri Lankan porn online: A couple of months after…

Responding to an ill-advised and misguided petition filed by the IGP (yes, the same one who said mobile phones can be used by rape victims as evidence), the courts ordered the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) to ban twelve sex sites in July 2009.

At the time, pro-government Sinhala media incredibly suggested that these sites were evidence of “an international conspiracy to tarnish the image of the country”, in addition to of course the hundreds of other conspiracies floating around.

Fast forward a couple of months, and it appears that the blocking of these sites is as haphazard as the blocking of news sites during Sri Lanka’s presidential elections. On both counts, the government of Sri Lanka demonstrates a monumental ignorance of progressive telecoms policy, confusing hypocritical morality with individual liberty and good parenting. The table below also suggests that there is really no coordinated approach to the implementation of these bans imposed by even by court order.

Dialog today remains the most open ISP, allowing four of the twelve banned sites on its network (though 3 of them are expired, and another just redirects to a different sex site). But even with SLT, the banning of sites is bizarre. http://www.tamilcanadian.com, and the popular news.tamilcanadian.com news aggregation portal is inaccessible on SLT ADSL, but freely accessibly via Mobitel HSPA and of course, Dialog. Why this is the case is anyone’s guess, but it points to a filtering regime that is still largely uncoordinated.

This may however all change with the Chinese expertise the Sri Lankan government is getting to help track down inconvenient information online.

5 thoughts on “Banning Sri Lankan porn online: A couple of months after…

  1. […] Australia’s problems with filtering pornographic content mirror the technical difficulties – some would argue technical impossibility – of censoring such content online. Sri Lanka has also made noises in this regard in 2008, but to date, even twelve sites determined to have pornographic content and blocked by court order are accessible over some ISPs. […]

  2. […] Web censorship in Sri Lanka is, to date, arbitrary in nature and execution. A leitmotif of all the sites blocked or disrupted to date is that they feature content rather unpalatable to the incumbent government. This aside, there is no discernible method to the madness in violence directed against web media, or the blocking of sites. What’s also ironical is that (pornography) websites blocked by court order are more accessible than sites blocked without any leg…. […]

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