Social Media ban to be lifted on Friday – Min. Harin Fernando

Social Media ban to be lifted on Friday – Min. Harin Fernando

Social Media ban to be lifted on Friday – Min. Harin Fernando

Written by Nathasha De Alwis

13 Mar, 2018 | 10:12 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st) – A media briefing was convened in Colombo today (March 13) on the ban imposed on social media.

“If people are using Facebook to gather others to attack and kill another person, what is the law?” – Min. Harin Fernando.

Minister of Digital Infrastructure & Foreign Employment Harin Fernando stated that after making constant requests to Facebook to remove these pages and when it is not done immediately, it puts them into a bit of an issue.

He stated that it was then that they realized that Facebook does not have the resources nor the human resources to process or read content in Sinhala and Facebook themselves have admitted to this.

“So we have communicated with the officials at Facebook in writing on the measures to be taken over this matter and also about which one of our institution’s recommendations do we implement.” – Min. Harin Fernando

He stated that they believe it is their profound duty to protect the country’s reconciliation and security. Therefore they have clearly requested for these two aspects only and they have responded in writing.

Min. Fernando stated that a team will arrive in the island tomorrow (March 14) night to discuss the issue in detail with the President’s Secretary as President Matihripala Sirisena is currently overseas, the Prime Minister and with officers of the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority.

He further stated that after holding discussions with them on Thursday (March 15) they are hoping to design this.

“We are satisfied with what they have sent to us in writing, but through discussions, we will be able to clarify all aspects. I have already spoken to the President over the phone, we believe we will be able to return things back to normal by Friday (March 16),” says Min. Harin Fernando.

President stated that the coming weeks will also see the introduction of a new program on using social media.

Expressing his views on accessing Social Media Platforms through Virtual Private Network or VPN Min. Harin Fernando stated that it is illegal and it is an offense.

He stated that according to what he has been informed about 800,000 people in Sri Lanka have downloaded VPN and around one million are active on Facebook at the moment.

“Which means 1 million people have downloaded a VPN.” – Min. Harin Fernando

Stating facts on the matter Attorney-at-Law, Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa stated that there is only one law in the country and that nowhere in the Computer Crimes Act of 2007 does it say that using an alternative technology as this is an offense nor can be arrested for doing so.

“So the people are ahead in terms of technology. It is not illegal to use a VPN under any act in Sri Lanka nor can any arrests be made. The State of Emergency is now over.” – Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa

Further elaborating he stated that according to the 19th amendment and the Right to Information Act of 2016, no one can prevent the general public from gaining access to information.


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