EC warns social media to stop hate speech and fake news | Daily News
Election Commission meets media firms ahead of Presidential poll

EC warns social media to stop hate speech and fake news

The Election Commission yesterday warned representatives of electronic, print and Web media that the transmission of hate speech and false information through their outlets would be met with stern legal action. The 3-member Commission, headed by Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya, yesterday met some 50 representatives of major news media organisations including those from internet social media outlets. Representatives of Facebook India, who oversee the network’s Sri Lankan operations, were also present.

The discussions took place at the Election Secretariat in Rajagiriya. The Commission members discussed with the print and electronic media heads the usage of news and Web media ahead of the forthcoming Presidential Election. Special attention was given to the framework of media ethics to be followed from the time the election schedule is declared up to the time of the conclusion of the election, Commission sources told Daily News. Over a dozen foreign representatives of social media companies were in attendance at the meeting.

Director General of Elections Saman Sri Ratnayaka told the Daily News that the Commission members stressed the need for the media, especially social media, to be careful of their media content during the election campaign period and during the vote and vote count.

The Commission appealed to the media heads to abide by their own ethical standards and codes and to avoid any violation of Sri Lanka laws.

The Director General also said that the Elections directorate and the members of the Commission also had their regular meeting today at which the focus of discussion was the holding of the Presidential Election.

“We are going to have a series of meetings as regards holding of the Presidential elections with the aim of minimising the possibility of election laws being violated by social media such as Facebook,” he added.

“The Election Commission, is additionally conducting a series of awareness programmes for Elections Secretariat staff and for those running social media platforms on their responsibilities and the current laws governing elections in the country,” Ratnayaka said.

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