‘Lift block on so­cial me­dia’:

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

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.

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