Sri Lanka Votes on New Regulation to Manage Online Content

Sri Lanka’s officials are set to decide on a web-based entertainment guideline bill on Wednesday which resistance lawmakers and activists claim will gag free discourse.

The Web-based Security Bill proposes prison terms for content that a five-part commission considers unlawful and make virtual entertainment stages like Google, Facebook and X, previously known as Twitter, at risk for those posted on their foundation.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s administration says the bill is pointed toward fighting digital violations including youngster misuse, information burglary and online misrepresentation.

Casting a ballot was normal later on Wednesday, a day after the bill was presented in the parliament for the legislators to banter on. In parliament, the main party that backs Wickremesinghe has the majority.

“Sri Lanka had 8,000 digital wrongdoings objections last year. We as a whole concur that we want regulations to resolve these issues. For this reason we are bringing this regulation,” Public Security Pastor Tiran Alles said on Tuesday while presenting the bill.

“Stifling the media or the opposition isn’t… Any objection will be taken up by the commission, who will be delegated by the president and they will choose the proper behavior.”

Sri Lanka was notified by the Asian Internet Coalition (AIC), which includes Apple, Amazon, Google, and Yahoo, that the bill could have an effect on investments in the country’s IT industry and called for extensive changes to be made to it.

According to a statement released by the AIC, “We unequivocally stand by our position that the Online Safety Bill, in its current form, is unworkable and would undermine potential growth and foreign direct investment into Sri Lanka’s digital economy.”

A little gathering of activists and resistance individuals fought outside parliament on Wednesday against the regulation.

“We fail to see the reason why the public authority is in such a rush to pass this bill,” Eran Wickramaratne, a legislator of Sri Lanka’s fundamental resistance Samagi Jana Balawegaya, said during Tuesday’s discussion.

“We ought to take additional time and have a superior way to deal with passing regulations that are this huge.”