Google and Facebook May Say Goodbye to Sri Lanka-Eran

Google and Facebook May Say Goodbye to Sri Lanka-Eran

In a recent parliamentary session, Member of Parliament Eran Wickremeratne raised concerns that Sri Lanka might lose access to major international platforms, including Google and Meta (formerly Facebook), following the introduction of the controversial Online Safety Bill. Wickremeratne asserted that once the law is implemented, these platforms could review the offences they might be accused of and potentially restrict access for users in Sri Lanka. Moreover, he highlighted the likelihood of non-compliance with government requests for information, citing potential self-incrimination risks.

Technology Platforms :

Wickremeratne’s comments were prompted by the opening statement presented by Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles, who mentioned the agreement of intermediaries with the bill. However, he noted that these technology platforms were not supportive of the legislation and were expected to express their displeasure through their social media channels.

The Asia Internet Coalition, including major players like Google, Meta, X, LinkedIn, Apple, Spotify, and, previously voiced concerns about the government’s push for the Online Safety Bill. In a joint statement released in September 2023, the coalition expressed reservations about the lack of stakeholder consultation, emphasizing that legislation should not stifle innovation and hinder public debate

Amendments : 

sri Lanka’s Supreme Court, in November, deemed the contentious bill eligible for passage in parliament, pending amendments to 31 of its provisions. The draft bill listed various offences, encompassing false statements, defamation, disturbance of religious assembly, and actions intending to hurt religious emotions. Additionally, it included criminal activities like fraud, cheating, and child abuse under the umbrella of ‘Online Safety.’

Wickremeratne disclosed that he had received the full text of the bill from the legal draftsman’s office just the previous day, underscoring the limited exposure other parliamentary ministers might have had to its content. As the debate surrounding the Online Safety Bill continues, the tech industry, both domestically and internationally, awaits developments that could shape the digital landscape in Sri Lanka.

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