Colombo: The apex court in Sri Lanka on Friday
set January 24 as the next date for further hearing of a case
filed challenging the government`s move to block five news
websites for content that was deemed insulting.
On December 5, Free Media Movement -- a media rights
group -- filed a fundamental rights application in the Supreme
Court saying the move breaches the people`s freedom of
expression and right to information.
The Attorney General, who represented the government,
objected that the group had no legal basis to file the case
when the application was taken up by the Supreme Court on Friday,
The Information and Media Ministry had ordered the
blocking of the sites lankaenews.com, srilankamirror.com,
srilankaguardian.com, paparasinews.com, gossip9.com and
lankawaynews.com last month, saying they deliberately insulted
individuals including key political leaders.
The ministry had also issued a directive that all
websites need to be registered with them.
Rights groups termed the move as undemocratic.
The US Embassy in Colombo last month urged the
authorities and telecommunications firms "to stop activities
aimed at blocking free access in Sri Lanka to all legitimate