United States expresses concern over Sri Lanka’s Online Safety Bill

Julie Chung - U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka

Julie J. Chung – U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka

The United States government on Thursday (January 25) expressed its concern over the controversial Online Safety Bill passed by Parliament of Sri Lanka on Wednesday (January 24).

U.S. Ambassador Julie Chung, in a message on X (formerly Twitter) said: “The United States remains concerned about the potential impact of Sri Lanka’s Online Safety Bill, which passed yesterday without incorporating important input from key stakeholders, including civil society and tech companies who say that this legislation threatens freedom of expression, innovation, and privacy. In addition to jeopardizing democratic values, vague and overly restrictive legislation can hinder investment and the development of a digital economy, undermining the economic growth that Sri Lanka needs. The U.S. urges Sri Lanka to prioritize transparency and ensure any legislation does not stifle the voices of its people.”

The Online Safety Bill was heavily criticized by free speech advocates as well as opposition lawmakers.

The world’s major internet and social media companies also warned of the negative consequences of the new law.