Sri Lanka, the former British colony of Ceylon, is the theatre for one of the world’s longest and bloodiest civil wars. For more than two-and-a-half decades the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have fought to secure a separate Tamil state from the country’s predominantly Sinhalese government. However, the reportage of the conflict has remained a monopoly of the government and the pro-Sinhala mainstream media. This paper argues that alternative media such as the Internet has given the LTTE and pro-liberation supporters a media outlet which is not easily censored, shut or distorted by governments and mainstream media groups. The alternative rebel media, however, does not imply an emergence of media freedom in Sri Lanka, and merely suggest the availability of an outlet for ‘news’ usually not supported by mainstream media. The paper does not necessarily support either the Eelam cause or the Sri Lankan government, and merely identifies the reasons for, and observes the successes and flaws of, web-based pro-Eelam media.
Recommended CitationUbayasiri, K., Internet and media freedom: A study of media censorship in Sri Lanka and the effectiveness of web-based revel media, Asia Pacific Media Educator, 12, 2002, 62-81.