Sri Lanka reverses controversial website censorship move

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government Thursday admitted it had no legal authority to call for the registration of news websites and rolled back an order which amounted to regulation and potential censorship of the Internet.

The Parliamentary Affairs and Media Ministry had taken the cover of two supreme court decisions on website regulation, but it was pointed out that the highest court had only asked the ministry to come up with "guide lines."

Deputy minister Karunaratne Paranavithana agreed that the court had not conferred legislative powers on his ministry and that what they proposed to do had no legal basis.

"There is no piece of legislation.. we are in the process of drafting that," he said when asked what law was being used to register websites.

"We are in the process to develop a mechanism. We will introduce it to parliament, only then will it become law."

There is a misconception that a newspapers have to be registered with the state, but the registration is with the post office to get a discount on postage.

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