‘Lift block on social media’:
After a weeklong shutdown of popular social media networks, journalists and rights activists are demanding the Sri Lankan government lift the censorship now that anti-Muslim violence has eased.
Freddie Gamage of the Professional Web Journalists’ Association said the government could have used existing laws to prevent spreading of hate speech and punished those instigating violence, instead of blocking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
He told reporters the government action is unacceptable and a move toward a censorship of the media.
Lawyer and activist Praboda Rathnayaka said those spreading hate speech could be arrested under existing law and the government’s move to block social media has violated the fundamental rights of the people.
The government imposed a state of emergency last week and shut down popular social media networks to block the spread of rumors leading to tensions and attacks.
Telecommunication minister Harin Fernando has said officials are discussing with the situation with Facebook representatives.