ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana has signed a bill to regulate online discourse into law, a statement from the Parliament said.
The controversial online safety bill becomes law a day after US Ambassador Julie Chung said “stifle innovation and democracy, instead of actually addressing online crimes, frankly this sends a negative signal in Sri Lanka’s path towards reform and recovery.”
The controversial bill on which many provisions were struck down by the Supreme Court as violating the constitution was passed last week amid strong protests by opposition legislators, with amendments.
The bill will come into effect as the Online Safety Act No. 9 of 2024.
Civil society organizations have said it has a ‘chilling effect’ on free speech, and global tech companies also raised serious concerns.
The Speaker also endorsed the certificate on National Hydrographic Bill passed on January 9 with amendments, and the Contempt of a Court, Tribunal or Institution Bill passed on January 10 with amendments.
These Bills will come into effect as the National Hydrographic Act No.7 of 2024 and the Contempt of a Court, Tribunal or Institution Act No.8 of 2024. (Colombo/Feb1/2024)