• Last Update 2023-09-21 17:53:00

Opposition raises concern over new Online Safety Bill


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:

  • to establish the Online Safety Commission
  • to make provisions to prohibit online communication of certain statements of fact in Sri Lanka
  • to prevent the use of online accounts and inauthentic online accounts for prohibited purposes
  • to make provisions to identify and declare online locations used for prohibited purposes in Sri Lanka
  • to suppress the financing and other support of communication of false statements of fact and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto


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


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