Social media blockage to be lifted | Daily News

Social media blockage to be lifted

Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando yesterday said the restrictions on social media platforms including Facebook, Viber, WhatsApp and Imo will most probably be lifted within the next 24 hours.

“The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) was in discussion with the Facebook service provider about filtering social media,” it was also noted.

These social media platforms were suspended last week as a preventive measure taken by the government to curb the spreading of fake news and rumours on the tensed situation in Kandy last week.

There were several claims that the restriction will be lifted soon. However, the ban was not lifted as at last morning.

Meanwhile, Policy Planning and Economic Affairs State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva, in a Twitter message stated that he had a lengthy discussion with the Secretary to the President Austin Fernando and the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Chairman explaining the negative impact on the economy.

A large number of online businesses carried out on the Face book and other platforms were affected by the blockade.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap in his official Twitter page stated that “Social media is an imperfect, evolving, and fluid platform that uses new technology to connect and reflect human societies as a whole, including the good and bad. Hate-filled people who exploit new ways to fan the flames of intolerance and violence are the real main culprits.” Meanwhile, the newly appointed Law and Order Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara had told journalists in Kandy that new laws will be introduced to prevent the spread of hate speech and false information through social media.

He had said that false information churned out by some individuals over social media had led to the clashes in Kandy compelling the government to promulgate emergency laws after a lapse of three years.

President Maithripala Sirisena promulgated a state of Emergency for a limited period of one week by bringing into force Section 2 of the Public Security Ordinance, last Tuesday following the unrest in some areas of the Kandy District.

Student remanded for spreading hate content on Facebook

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

A student of a leading school in Colombo arrested for allegedly spreading hate content on Facebook when the government had declared state of Emergency following the unrest in the Kandy district, was yesterday ordered to be remanded till March 26 by the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court.

The suspect was arrested by the CID for allegedly spreading racial sentiments on social media, in a manner of causing damage to country’s ethnic and religious harmony.

The defence’s request to release the suspect on bail was rejected by Chief Magistrate Lal Ranasinghe Bandara citing that he does not have jurisdiction to make such order.

The CID alleged that the suspect had committed an offence coming under the purview of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act No. 56 of 2007. 


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