Facebook ban lifted in Sri Lanka
Posted on March 15th, 2018

By Yusuf Ariff  Courtesy Adaderana

President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) to lift the temporary restrictions imposed on social media website Facebook, with immediate effect.

He stated that the decision was taken after representatives of social media giant had agreed to prevent Facebook from being used to spread spreading hate speech and incite violence, during talks held with President’s Secretary Austin Fernando today (15).

On my instructions, my secretary has discussed with officials of Facebook, who have agreed that its platform will not be used for spreading hate speech and inciting violence.”

As such, I instructed TRCSL to remove the temporary ban on Facebook with immediate effect,” the President tweeted.

The Government took steps last Wednesday (7) to temporarily restrict access to social media websites and messaging platforms, in order to curtail the attempts to spread communal violence across the country, misusing the social media in a manner detrimental to the national harmony.

The government said it was able to control the rapid spread of violence by temporarily imposing restriction on social media as an action to ensure the national and public safety of Sri Lanka.

President Sirisena, who is currently on a state visit to Japan, instructed his Secretary to implement the necessary monitoring and surveillance methods, and allowed access to  Viber from Tuesday night (13) lifting the temporary restriction imposed on it.

Based on further evaluation of the social media networks that are still denied access, President advised the lifting of restrictions on WhatsApp with effect from midnight of yesterday (14).

However, the President stresses the importance of a guided mechanism to prevent the attempts to disturb the livelihoods of people through spreading ethnic-hatred and racism and damaging the image of an individual through false allegations,” a statement said.

A meeting was held under the patronage of Secretary to the President, Austin Fernando and the representatives of Facebook at the Presidential Secretariat today (15), to arrive at a method to ensure the necessary protection and surveillance and lift the temporary restriction on access to Facebook.

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