The proposed new bill ‘The Strengthen Online Security’ Act is the latest law to be added to repressive laws like the Rehabilitation Act, Anti-Terrorism Act, Anti-Corruption Act, and Media Regulatory Commission Act.
The press statement issued by the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions protesting against this Act The full statement is published below in its entirety.
22nd September 2022
The proposed new Bill to ‘Strengthen Online Security’ should be defeated.
After the appointment of Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe as the successor executive president, a new bill has been proposed called ‘Strengthening Internet Security’. ‘The ‘Strengthen Online Security’ bill is the latest law to be added to repressive laws like the Rehabilitation Act, Anti-Terrorism Act, Anti-Corruption Act, and Media Regulatory Commission Act.
The last hope of the rulers was defined as new laws that intervened to protect the country’s democracy and citizen rights to control the people’s opposition that may grow against the government. Media organizations and intellectuals, leading mass organizations on behalf of the citizens, and the legal community with the former President of the Sri Lanka Bar Association Mr. Saliya Peiris say that the primary purpose of this new bill is to control ‘social media’.
In view of the economic, social, and political crisis that is growing in the country, we strongly believe that this is another law for the purpose of crossing the basic right to information and social freedom of the people. We strongly believe that these laws are specifically for the control of ‘social media’, which is becoming a social power.
It is the responsibility of every citizen to defeat the repressive decrees that the President, who does not have a clear mandate, trying to pass and implement the proposed ‘ Strengthen Online Security’ act at his discretion. Therefore, our Federation strongly expects the intervention of every citizen who agrees to protect the freedom of expression and speech in Sri Lanka.
The Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions, in conjunction with the International Federation of Journalists, all media organizations strongly condemn the proposed draconian bill. The International Federation of Journalists is the most powerful media organization with a membership of over 600,000 journalists, comprising 167 media organizations in 146 countries.