On Tuesday the BBC World Service stopped providing radio news to Sri Lanka’s state broadcaster because of what it calls “deliberate interference” by government censors.

World Service programmes and news reports in English, Sinhala and Tamil had been blocked, the BBC alleged, citing 25 instances of interference between November last year and last month.

“The BBC noted 17 instances of interference to BBC Tamil and eight similar instances to BBC Sinhala broadcasts between November 27 and early January. Sometimes whole current affairs segments of BBC programming were not broadcast on Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC),” the BBC statement said.

“Despite the warnings, last week there were several further instances of interference to BBC programming in all three languages being broadcast on SLBC.” The SLBC Chairman, Mr Hudson Samarasinghe, reportedly admitted censoring BBC programming, saying he had a duty to do so at a time when Sri Lanka is at war.