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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
"Censorship went far beyond .. protecting national security" - Article 19
Article 19, the International Centre Against Censorship in a Report entitled "Silent War - Censorship and Conflict in Sri Lanka" in March 1996, pointed out:
"Undoubtedly the greatest threat to freedom of expression was the censorship imposed under the emergency regulations in September 1995 to restrict reporting of the major military offensive to seize back control of the LTTE stronghold of Jaffna, together with the milirary's refusal to allow journalists to travel both to the zones of actual conflict, and to the areas of the north remaining under LTTE control, where many of the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the offensive now reside.
Humanitarian organisations which sought to report suspected violations of humanitarian and human rights law by the military came under strong public attack from the government. This was sometimes followed by direct physical attacks and threats by other parties against these organisations.
The effect of both formal and informal censorship of the conflict was to ensure that the wider public received only the official version of events in the north.
The broad scope of the censorship... went far beyond any legitimate interest in protecting national security or public order. Government censorship and restrictions on access to the north not only kept the public uninformed, but also made the process of providing humanitarian assistance to the victims of war more difficult and may have concealed violations of humanitarian and human rights law." (Article 19 Publication, Silent War - Censorship and Conflict in Sri Lanka, March 1996)