Sri Lanka’s Online Safety Act transferred to Ministry of Public Security
Posted on February 8th, 2024

Courtesy Hiru News

The much-debated Online Safety Act has been placed under the purview of the Ministry of Public Security, as announced in an Extraordinary Gazette notification issued by the Presidential Secretariat.

Effective from 07 February, the Online Safety Act will fall under the purview of the Ministry of Public Security, as outlined in the gazette. This legislation, aimed at regulating online content, was passed in Parliament with amendments on 24 January. However, its implementation has been met with criticism from opposition politicians and activists who argue that it threatens freedom of speech.

The contentious nature of the Bill has drawn attention not only from local activists and organizations but also from diplomats and international bodies, who have highlighted various problematic aspects of the law.

According to the Sri Lankan government, the Online Safety Bill, initially published in the government gazette on 18 September, aims to address several issues, including the prohibition of certain statements in online communication, prevention of misuse of online accounts for illicit purposes (both authentic and inauthentic), and the suppression of financing and support for dissemination of false information.

The transfer of the Online Safety Act to the Ministry of Public Security comes amidst ongoing debates and concerns regarding its potential impact on freedom of expression and online discourse within Sri Lanka.

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