Tamilnet.com, the controversial pro-LTTE site blocked by all ISPs in Sri Lanka since mid-2007, is accessible once more from SLT ADSL connections. Even when it was blocked, many in Sri Lanka accessed the site content from via proxy, with Groundviews being one of the first to post such a workaround.
Just as in March 2009, Tamilnet.com remains blocked on Dialog’s WiMax connections, but is bizarrely freely accessible on my Blackberry Bold via 3G on Dialog. Conversely, whereas Tamil Canadian, a website with a similar bias to Tamilnet, is freely accessible on Dialog, it is completely blocked on SLT ADSL. As noted in my post in March last year, Tamilnet’s blocking on SLT has on occasion disappeared, only to be quickly reinstated. It is unclear if this current window of free access is a technical glitch or whether the person at Sri Lanka Telecom responsible for maintaining the block will now be tied to a tree or hung from it.
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 legal authority.
For more details of web censorship in Sri Lanka, read Threats and opportunities: The freedom of expression online in Sri Lanka, a new report by the Centre for Policy Alternatives that is a comprehensive study of threats to freedom of expression online in Sri Lanka today.