Mar 09, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government, on Friday said that a temporary blockade on social media imposed on Wednesday to prevent the spread of hate speech will be lifted on Saturday (10).
Deputy Minister for National Policy and Economic Affairs, Harsha de Silva informed Parliament the government had taken a decision to block social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Viber, Instagram and Facebook as this platform was being used to spread false news and hate speech in the wake of communal clashes in Kandy.
"Trolls and bots manipulate social media sites to spread false and inflammatory news in an apparent effort to stoke political and ethnic divisions on a large scale. Hence it is difficult to control social media as news is spread so fast," the Minister was quoted as saying.
"We needed to block social media temporarily to stop the spread of this malicious and inflammatory news. Now the situation is settling," he added.
Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said that although according to law, the restriction was considered a human rights violation, the government had taken the decision in order to curb the spread of false and malicious news as this had triggered the situation to spiral out of control.
Chairman of the National Movement for Consumer Protection Ranjith Vithanage has lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Council against the temporary restriction on accessing the social media networks.
Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said the national security was more important than anything else and the situation is now returning to normal.