The government has gazetted the draft Online Safety Bill, which was recently approved by Cabinet.
The gazette has been issued by the Ministry of Public Security.
The key objectives of the Bill are as follows:
The opposition has already come out strongly against the Bill. Speaking in Parliament today, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa described it as yet another attempt by the government to stifle freedom of expression.
Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Dr. Harsha De Silva meanwhile, termed the Bill as "A Regressive Overreach Stifling Investment and Freedom of Speech." Taking to X (formerly known as Twitter), Dr De Silva added that this "archaic, draconian legislation is a clear overreach."
He warned that Sri Lanka risks turning away tech giants such as Google and Meta through the Bill since it introduces laws that impose restrictions on their operations. "Sri Lanka's future prosperity hangs in the balance," he warned.
The link to the gazetted Bill is given here: http://documents.gov.lk/files/bill/2023/9/284-2023_E.pdf