Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter Statement of Free, Open, and Inclusive Internet for All-අන්තර්ජාලයේ නිදහස් හා විවෘත ස්වභාවය රැක ගැනීම සදහා
Posted on March 16th, 2018

For Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter,  M.B.B. Kirindigoda, Secretary,  Sagarika Wickramasekara, President

බහූ පාර්ශ්වික සාමාජිකයන් විසින් මෙහෙයවන ශ්‍රී ලංකා අන්තර්ජාල සමාජය 2018 පෙබරවාරි 13 ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ අන්තර්ජාලයේ වෛරී ප්‍රකාශණය, වැරදි තොරතුරු පළකිරීම හා සමාජ සංහිඳියාවට බාධා පැමිණවීම සහ වර්ථමානයේ අන්තර්ජාලය අවහිර කිරීම පිළිබඳව විවිධ අදහස් දැනගැනීමට හා ඉදිරි පියවර හඳුනා ගැනීමට විවෘත සංවාද සභාවක් පැවත්විණී. මෙම අපේ ප්‍රකාශණය එම සංවාද සභාවේ පොදු එකඟතාවයක ප්‍රතිඵලයකි.

එකී කතිකාවත මත සාමාජිකයින් විසින් ඒකරාශී වෙමින් නිර්මාණය කල  ශ්‍රී ලංකා අන්තර්ජාල සමාජයේ නිදහස් අන්තර්ජාලයේ ප්‍රකාශනය ජනගත කළෙමු. තවද ජනාදිපති ලේකම් කාර්යාලය වෙත ලබාදුන් අතර සියලුම පාර්ශවයන් වෙත මේවන විට බෙදා හරිමින් ඇත. මේවන විට සමාජ ජාල වරණය නවතා ඇතිමුත් අන්තර්ජාලයේ නිදහස් හා විවෘත ස්වභාවය රැක ගැනීම සදහා නිවැරදි ක්‍රමෝපායන් සැකසිය යුතුව ඇත.

Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter advocating and promoting ethical and effective use of internet and as the most powerful, unbiased internet related Multi-Stakeholder Organization with technical expertise on internet policy and standards, invite all the stakeholders to join forces to end the adverse social and economic impacts of people of Sri Lanka caused by the filtration and restrictions of internet.

As a member-driven multi-stakeholder organization, the Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter conducted an open and inclusive forum on 13th February 2018 to gather various perspectives on hate speech, fake news, disruption of social harmony and current internet restrictions in Sri Lanka.We have released this statement to Presidential Secretariat and the public media.

We encourage all ISOC Sri Lanka Members to share this information with the public as the threat for Free and Open Internet is not lifted with the Facebook, Viber, and Whatsapp restriction lift.

About Internet Society Sri Lanka

The Internet Society Sri Lanka is an open and inclusive multi stakeholder community organisation formed by pioneers of Sri Lankan Internet. Their work has helped develop the technical, economical and social attributes of Sri Lankan internet since the beginning of Nineteen Eighties. The Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter was officially formed in 2010 connecting to Global Internet Society with the mission to promote Open, Inclusive and Free internet for all.

The Internet Society Sri Lanka promotes open and inclusive internet, technical standards, security & safety, equality, education and sustainable development using internet. We have been contributing to:

  • Make the internet safer, resilient and innovation
  • Engage people on issues related to Internet and
  • Resolve the issues created while using the internet.
  • Our work to develop internet in Sri Lanka

We have helped developing an open and inclusive internet in Sri Lanka. Our members have largely contributed in developing the internet technology, policy and education for the state and society since the beginning of internet in Sri Lanka. We conduct Internet related events, forums, education programs and projects promoting and innovation of the internet to uplift the standards of living of people in our country. Enabling nationwide Sinhala and Tamil Unicode local language communication is a simple example. Our education programs range from Safer Internet, Access & Accessibility, Preventing Internet Addictions, Understanding Fake News and IoT. Since the inception the ISOC members represented Sri Lanka globally with ICANN, IGF, UNESCAP, WSIS, and APNIC forums to help shape local and global internet policy and standards.

Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Sri Lanka

The IGF is a global multi-stakeholder platform that facilitates the discussion of public policy issues pertaining to the internet. The United Nations Secretary-General formally accepted the establishment of the IGF Sri Lanka in July 2006. We conducted IGF Sri Lanka 2016 and 2017 with the support of the Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Ministry. These IGF sessions were highly welcomed by the participation of a wide community of individuals from various fields in the Technical, Academic, Professional, Government, Business, Civil Society and Media backgrounds. The key focus areas of IGF Sri Lanka was to engage multi stake holder participation in internet policy for enabling free and open internet, standards, safety and security, equality and ethical use of internet for socio economic development.

Internet Society on Current Internet filtration and restrictions in Sri Lanka

As a member driven multi stakeholder organization, the Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter conducted an open and inclusive forum on 13th February 2018 to gather various perspectives on hate speech, fake news, disruption of social harmony and current internet restrictions in Sri Lanka.

Our Voice!

The Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter stands for free, open and inclusive Internet by its mandate, and we do not approve any form of restrictions on open and inclusive Internet. Internet is not a property of any single country and is not controlled by any. It is a free form of media led by technology and creativity of many stakeholders. It should be governed by its own ecosystem.

We condemn using internet for any ill-acts like hate speech, fake news and publishing of content that harm the privacy, reputation and safety of individuals, organizations, and religious or ethnic groups that disturbs communal harmony among the people in Sri Lanka.

Filtration and restrictions of Internet services technically by authorities, as a solution to forestall violence and civic unrest in the country, has been gaining traction in local and international society.

This practice has been heavily condemned at the international policy circles as being unjustifiable under international human rights law. The blocking in March 2018 has largely damaged the reputation of Sri Lanka as a nation with right to freedom of expression.

Restricting the Internet access fully or partially to large sections of the population has several wide-ranging socio economic consequences, including compromising the right to free speech and freedom of information and knowledge under the constitution of Sri Lanka, in addition to making for an inhospitable environment for businesses and other entities who rely on the Internet for functioning.

This filtration and restrictions imposed on internet has greatly impacted the access to information and communication of individuals, families, universities, small businesses, tourists, visitors, women and disabled people, as well as private, public and state institutions who use internet and social networks for day to day communications. We estimated the affected population as 6.1 million or more.

Our Appeal!

Our appeal is to immediately remove all the restrictions on the use of Internet and reiterate the state commitment to protect the free and open nature of the internet. The current restrictions are unlawful, non-transparent, and technically unsustainable.

The involvement of multinational corporations such as Facebook to reduce the harmful content requires a bottom up, transparent, open and inclusive community driven mechanism. We believe that we can use this problem as an opportunity to introduce ethical, safe and effective use of internet for sustainable development and social harmony.

In order to ensure the freedom of Internet, a National ICT policy needs to be implemented. Now is the high time to make the government officials and relevant agencies, ministries, universities and professional individuals / bodies aware of this requirement.

As a free and rich source of knowledge, the government can consider promoting and supporting the use of Internet technologies for education and creative expression of ideas among young and adult population. Tertiary and Vocational training institutes can include the use of Internet technologies for skills development and self-learning through their curriculum.

The Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter advocating and promoting ethical and effective use of internet and as the most powerful, unbiased internet related Multi Stakeholder Organization with technical expertise on internet policy and standards, invite all the stakeholders to join forces to end the adverse social and economic impacts of people of Sri Lanka caused by the filtration and restrictions of internet.

For Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter
M.B.B. Kirindigoda
Secretary

Sagarika Wickramasekara
President

14 March 2018

 

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