Colombo admits to cyber terrorism- FMM

[TamilNet, Thursday, 21 June 2007, 09:45 GMT]
Unequivocally condemning the "outrageous" statement by Sri Lanka's Minister Keheliya Rambuwella that "he would love to hire hackers to disable TamilNet," a press release by the Colombo-based media watchdog Free Media Movement, said Thursday that "the statement is tantamount to Government sanctioned cyber-terrorism against websites that do not toe its line. The reference to the use of hackers to shut down websites is a strategy that offensively transgresses the responsibility to protect fundamental rights of citizens, including the freedom of expression and the right to information, by a Government Minister."

The full text of the press release follows:

Government Minister admits to cyber-terrorism:
Attempts to hack Tamilnews website


21st June 2007, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Free Media Movement (FMM) unequivocally condemns the outrageous statement by Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, as reported by the BBC’s Sinhala Service and by AFP today, that he would love to hire hackers to disable Tamilnet, but had not found anyone yet for the job.

Minister Rambukwella’s statement is tantamount to Government sanctioned cyber-terrorism against websites that do not toe its line. The reference to the use of hackers to shut down websites is a strategy that offensively transgresses the responsibility to protect fundamental rights of citizens, including the freedom of expression and the right to information, by a Government Minister. The Minister’s statement also puts him at cross purposes with the Computer Crimes Bill enacted in Sri Lanka earlier this year, holding him culpable under the law for attempting to hack into a website with the intent to cause disruption.

The FMM seeks urgent clarification from the Government as to whether Minister Rambukwella’s comments are indicative of official Government policy to shutdown, disrupt or censor content and websites on the Internet. If not, the FMM seeks a full retraction from the Minister and reiterates that the Government must immediately unblock access to Tamilnet in Sri Lanka .

Sunanda Deshapriya
Convenor
Free Media Movement


Chronology:


External Links:
CPJ: In Sri Lanka, the government silences a Tamil Web site
AFP: Sri Lanka seeks hackers to down pro-Tiger website
IHT: Rights group: Popular pro-rebel Web site banned by Sri Lanka
Hindu: Lankan Govt. denies censorship despite blocking Tamilnet
Reuters: Sri Lanka urged to stop censoring pro-Tiger Web site
RSF: Sri Lanka : government censors Tamilnet by blocking access to website
BBC: Popular Tamil website 'blocked'
AFP: Sri Lanka under fire over Internet censorship

 

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