Sri Lanka to amend Online Safety Act

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Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers has agreed to proceed with several amendments to the Online Safety Act based on the suggestions made by various industry professionals.

According to a proposal tabled by the Minister of Public Security at the cabinet meeting on Monday (February 12), the Legal Draftsman will be directed to outline a draft Bill to amend the much-disputed legislation.

The Online Safety Act, which seeks to regulate online content, was passed in the Parliament of Sri Lanka on January 24, 2024 with amendments, amid protests from opposition politicians and activists who accused the new law will disrupt free speech.

The Online Safety Act attracted the interest not only of local activists and organizations but also of diplomats and major international organizations, who highlighted numerous problematic aspects within it.

In response to the criticisms, the Sri Lankan government has stated that the new law is designed to ban certain statements from being communicated online within the country. It aims to prevent the use of online accounts, whether authentic or inauthentic, for prohibited purposes. Additionally, it seeks to curb the financing and other forms of support for spreading false statements and related activities.