Post-Easter terror attacks, SL proposes new law on fake news


NEW DELHI, JUNE 6: The Sri Lankan Government Wednesday decided to introduce a 5-year jail term for those caught spreading fake news and hate speech on social media.
In a statement, the Sri Lanka Government said the offenders will also be fined 1 million rupees ($5,715) and that the Cabinet of Ministers had approved the proposal by the Acting Justice Minister. It did not immediately release a definition of the 2 offences, however, it said the penal code will be amended to introduce new penalties.
The Government alleged that social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp have been used to spread hate in a country where ethnic divisions still linger after decades of war.
The Sri Lankan Government had shut down Internet access in March last year to prevent violence when anti-Muslim mobs killed 3 people and destroyed hundreds of homes, shops, vehicles and mosques.
A 9-day ban was imposed on social media networks including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp following the attacks on 3 churches and 3 luxury hotels by the ISIS killing 258 people and injuring over 500 others. Nine suicide bombers, including a woman, carried out a series of devastating blasts. Sri Lanka initially imposed the emergency on April 23 to crack down on the 9 suicide bombers. Thirteen arrests have been made so far. (Courtesy: IE)