Tiran claims diplomat asked him to scrap Online Safety Bill

Tiran claims diplomat asked him to scrap Online Safety Bill

By Easwaran Rutnam

Public Security Minister Tiran Alles claims a female diplomat asked him to scrap the Online Safety Bill.

The Minister said that the diplomat had telephoned him and asked him not to go ahead with the Bill.

However, Alles said he will present the Bill in Parliament later this month and diplomats and others can submit their observations to him before that.

He says the Police have received several complaints related to social media and the Bill looks to protect the public from harassment and abuse online.

The initial draft of the Bill drew concerns with the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) saying last year the Bill consists of numerous problematic provisions which included vague and broad terminology defining prohibited statements and what constitutes online safety; the appointment of an Online Safety Commission by the President with expansive powers including the power to make rules for service providers and internet intermediaries who provide internet-based communications services; conferral of powers to the Minister to make regulations in respect of all matters which are required by the Act; and severe restrictions placed on the freedom of expression on social media.

CPA also noted that the Bill entrenches punitive measures and deliberately targets freedom of expression and dissent. (Colombo Gazette)

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