SOCIAL MEDIA REGISTRATION: AN AFFRONT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH?

SOCIAL MEDIA REGISTRATION: AN AFFRONT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH?

SOCIAL MEDIA REGISTRATION: AN AFFRONT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH?

Written by Pavani Hapuarachchi

21 Dec, 2020 | 10:45 am

COLOMBO (News 1st): The registration of social media users in the country as announced by Subject Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, indicates a crackdown on Freedom of Expression of the citizens, human rights activists raised concerns on Monday (Dec. 21).

“First, it indicates there might be a crackdown on Freedom of Expression, and one also wonders why is it that the government wants to register social media users. People with known profiles, who use their own identities are already visible, so they can be seen,” Human Rights Advocate and Attorney-at-Law Ambika Satkunanadan, told News 1st on Monday (Dec. 21).

The possibility of social media platforms providing user data to the government remains doubtful, the Former Member of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (HRCSL) said during News 1st’s Talk of the Town programme with Faraz Shauketaly.

“What concerns all of us is whether this will be the first step towards placing restrictions on Freedom of Expression and particularly dissent and people who are critical of the government. That calls for concern,” Attorney-at-Law Ambika Satkunanadan emphasized.

On Sunday (Dec. 20), Sri Lanka’s Minister of Mass Media, Keheliya Rambukwella revealed the government’s plans to register all social media users in the country to curb inappropriate content.

“We are of the opinion that inappropriate content on social media must be regulated. We are preparing a system for social media users including Facebook users to be registered under our ministry,” Minister Rambukwella told reporters.

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