Tech giants have raised alarm bells over Sri Lanka’s proposed Online Safety Bill, fearing it could stifle free speech and empower censorship. Tech giants like Google, Meta, and Amazon are fiercely opposed to Sri Lanka’s proposed Online Safety Bill, citing its potential to stifle online discourse and entrench discriminatory power.
The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), representing these tech giants, has outlined several critical concerns with the bill:
Vagueness: The bill lacks clear definitions of “prohibited statements,” potentially criminalizing legitimate online discourse.
Overbroad reach: broad categories like “false statements” and “distressing statements” could be misused to target dissenters and minority voices.
Lack of oversight: The bill grants excessive power to a government-appointed commission with no independent oversight, raising concerns about political influence and abuse.
Potential for discrimination: Vague definitions and a lack of due process could disproportionately target minorities, especially regarding “offenses to religious feelings.”
Tech giants fear the bill could undermine Sri Lanka’s digital economy and democratic values. They urge the government to revise the bill to ensure clear definitions, independent oversight, and protection of free speech.