Sri Lanka to bring legislation to protect against the spreading of false and misleading statements (Fake News) through Internet. Cabinet ministers approve the proposal.
The spread of false information on the Internet poses a serious threat and is seen as being used to divide society, to spread hatred and to weaken democratic institutions. Various countries have already taken steps to legislate in order to address this problem. Steps should be taken to provide access to accurate information to citizens and civil society by introducing a new law to protect society from the harm caused by false propaganda on the Internet. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers granted the approval for the resolution tabled by the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Mass Media to advice the Legal Draftsman to draft a bill for the relevant issue.

According to Justice Minister, out of the entire social media profiles in Sri Lanka, 15 to17 per cent is fake. Therefore, it is impossible to prosecute them if they disseminated something baseless.

Sri Lanka, Justice Minister Ali Sabry, PC earlier said that the Cabinet of Ministers is in a discussion on bringing in new laws to control the dissemination of disinformation via the social media platforms in Sri Lanka.

He said it is currently taking into the consideration the laws such as the Prevention of Online Falsehood and Manipulation Act that is effective in Singapore, India and Malaysia.

According to him, out of the entire social media profiles in Sri Lanka, 15 to17 per cent is fake. Therefore, it is impossible to prosecute them if they disseminated something baseless.

“Such moves could have direct impacts on the freedom of expression in the future. Freedom of Expression should be secondary to national security, reconciliation, dignity of the country, privacy, defamation and economic factors”, he stressed.

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