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‘False Truths’ and ‘Hate Speech’ Bills in the pipeline

20 Oct 2021

BY Pamodi Waravita With the stated aim of countering fake news and hate speech, the Justice Ministry is currently engaged in the consultative process of formulating an “Online False Truths” Bill and a “Hate Speech” Bill, The Morning learnt. “We are yet to finish the consultative process on two Bills which we are hoping to introduce in order to counter fake news and hate speech, namely, the ‘Online False Truths’ Bill and the ‘Hate Speech’ Bill,” Justice Ministry Secretary M.P.K. Mayadunne told The Morning. In April of this year, Justice Minister President’s Counsel M.U.M. Ali Sabry told the media that laws similar to the Singaporean “Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA)” will be introduced to Sri Lanka as well, claiming that almost 17% of Sri Lanka’s social media activists’ profiles are fake. Meanwhile, the Cabinet of Ministers on 11 October approved the drafting of the Defence Cyber Commands Act which would also include provisions to establish a cyber protection agency. “It has been recognised that there are many aspects of national security which are directly affected by the cyber world. Thus, the Cabinet approved the formulation of cyber protection laws, and the establishment of the ‘Sri Lanka Cyber Protection Agency’,” Cabinet Spokesperson Dullas Alahapperuma said at the time. According to the cabinet decision, discussions between the Technology Ministry and the Defence Ministry have recognised the need for cyber protection laws due to the increasing influence that technology has on national security.  

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