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UNP will not fight Sirisena over Sri Lanka censorship: minister

ECONOMYNEXT – The senior partner in Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition will not challenge President Maithripala Sirisena’s internet censorship in the interest of stability, Telecommunication minister Harin Fernando said.

The minister said his party will not rock the boat although he was against the censorship slapped on the outspoken Sinhalese-language website Lanka e-News in early November.

He said access to the www.lankaenews.com had been blocked following orders of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission which was directly under President Sirisena. The telecom minister was not kept in the loop over the decision, he added.

However, Fernando said he was not going to challenge the president’s decision even though it went against the UNP’s policy of opposing censorship.

“We are in a joint national coalition. So our two parties are together. Just because the other party decides (on something wrong) we are not going to be barbaric and fight each other,” he said.

He said the president’s side had their own reasons for banning Lanka e-News and the UNP will accept them. “We are not going to fight them about it. we will accept it and keep quiet.”

The minister also noted that they were able to come to power in 2015 largely on the backing of Lanka e-News which was highly critical of the Rajapaksa administration. Since of late, the site has become vocal against Sirisena, his family and some members of the UNP. (COLOMBO, March 14, 2018)

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