Online Safety Bill presented to Parliament
The Online Safety Bill was presented to Parliament by Public Security Minister Tiran Alles yesterday (3).
The Bill will have an Online Safety Commission of five appointed by the President who will be empowered to block any social media account, prosecute, fine and even imprison individuals.
Sri Lankan authorities gazetted the Online Safety Bill, dated September 15, 2023, by order of the Public Security Minister.
The Online Safety Commission is to make provisions to prohibit online communication of certain statements of fact in Sri Lanka; and to prevent the use of online accounts and inauthentic online accounts for prohibited purposes, and other related matters and the term of office of a member of the Commission shall be three years from the date of appointment.
As per the Online Safety Bill, the Commission members shall have qualifications and experience in one or more of the fields of information technology, law, governance, social services, journalism, science and technology or management.
The Commission will have the power to issue directives to persons, service providers or internet intermediaries, who have published or communicated or whose service has been used to communicate any prohibited statement, requiring them to provide to persons who have been adversely affected by any prohibited statement, an opportunity of responding to such prohibited statement.
The Commission will have the power to issue notices to any internet access service providers or internet intermediary to disable access to an online location which contains a prohibited statement by the end users in Sri Lanka or to remove such prohibited statement from such online location.
Concerns have been mounting over this proposed piece of legislation by the Sri Lankan Government.