Sri Lanka signs controversial online security bill into law, sparks uproar – India TV Hindi

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Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Parliament has passed a controversial online security bill that has caused an uproar. The opposition is strongly criticizing the government on this issue. This has also made the government nervous. The Sri Lankan government on Thursday approved a controversial bill to regulate online content, which the opposition criticized, claiming it would infringe on freedom of expression.

Parliament’s Communications Office said in a release that Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abiwardena signed the bill and confirmed it. Despite calls internationally and locally for the bill not to be ratified, the Speaker signed it. Parliament approved the bill with amendments last week. The new law will establish an Online Safety Commission which will be empowered to take punitive decisions on offences. If found guilty of making false statements on online forums, the maximum penalty is five years imprisonment or a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand Sri Lankan rupees.

The opposition made this allegation

The bill has been heavily criticized and termed as an attack on freedom of expression. The opposition cited the Asian Internet Alliance (AIC) as arguing that the bill would hinder efforts to invite foreign investment. The opposition also promised to cancel it if it comes to power. AIC had said that the proposed law poses major challenges which, if not addressed, could affect the potential growth of Sri Lanka’s digital economy. The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka had ordered to amend at least 31 of the total 57 clauses of the Bill. (language)

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