Rambukwella does a U-turn on registering social media users

Rambukwella does a U-turn on registering social media users

Rambukwella does a U-turn on registering social media users

Written by Hassaan Shazuli

21 Dec, 2020 | 1:28 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): Sri Lanka’s media minister has said the government is only considering the registration of “foreign digital operators”, denying his previous statement on registering social media users.

“…these digital multinational conglomerates are overwhelming and alienating our local businesses by data colonization,” Keheliya Rambukwella said in a written statement on Monday.

He added that the country has been witnessing large currency outflows due to these “predatory techniques”.

On Sunday, Rambukwella declared that there was a need to counter inappropriate digital content circulating in the country.

“Our ministry has devised a plan to register the users of social media platforms including Facebook,” he told reporters, prompting concerns on censorship and media freedom.

But in Monday’s statement, the mass media minister claimed that his remarks have been portrayed in a “garbled manner” without conveying the true meaning.

“The government has been considering registering foreign digital operators and not social media and digital platform users,” he insisted.

The tally of Sri Lanka’s social media users had stood at around 6.4 million by January 2020, according to DataReportal that compiles statistics on social media platforms.

Last month, global internet companies Facebook, Google, and Twitter had threatened to leave Sri Lanka’s South Asian neighbour Pakistan for vesting powers with local regulators to censor digital content.

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