Website owners must now pay

The government has decided that news websites to be registered with the Media Ministry must pay a registration fee and an annual fee.

Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the weekly cabinet press briefing today that accordingly news websites must pay Rs. 100,000 (US$ 1000) to register and also Rs. 50,000 (US$ 500) annually.

He said that the payments will be made mandatory under the amended Press Council Act which will regulate websites apart from newspapers.

The move is likely to see several non-profit news websites operated by individuals being forced to shut down.

The move follows the controversy over the Sri Lanka Mirror and Sri Lanka X News websites which were raided by the CID recently over allegations of publishing false news.