On March 16, 2014, Colombo Telegraph, a UK-based online news outlet published an article entitled ‘Jayantha Dhanapala Is A Liar; Caught Lying Over Silence On Colombo Telegraph Blocking’. This article was a follow-up of an earlier article on the failure of Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala, a member of the Board of Directors of Dialog Axiata PLC, one of Sri Lanka’s premier telecommunications service providers, to prevent Colombo Telegraph from being blocked by that company in Sri Lanka. These articles were followed by a third follow-up piece published on 27 March 2014, with photographic evidence that Colombo Telegraph continues to be blocked. The third article described Dialog as being ‘surreptitious’ in blocking access to the online newspaper, unblocking the site before Dhanapala delivered a speech at public forum organised by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), and re-blocking it soon after. In the relative aftermath of this outright accusation of Ambassador Dhanapala as a liar, this article attempts at rethinking the issue, in the backdrop of the broader picture of challenges to the free press in Sri Lanka.
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NB: This article was originally published on Groundviews on 12 April 2014.