Tech giants will leave Sri Lanka, warns Harsha

Tech giants will leave Sri Lanka if 'Online Safety Bill' goes ahead, warns Harsha

by Zulfick Farzan 19-9-2023 | 6:48 PM

COLOMBO (News 1st); Opposition lawmaker Dr. Harsha De Silva warned that if Sri Lanka proceeds ahead with the new Online Safety Bill, tech giants such as Google, and Meta would leave Sri Lanka.

"This is a completely archaic piece of legislation. It is Draconian. It violates the basic principles, and it certainly is an overreach," said the MP in Parliament on Tuesday (19)

He said that the government is attempting to violate the basic principles of freedom of thought and speech.

"You are saying in this draft legislation that you will set up a commission, and the President will appoint commission members, of whom he will select a chairman, and that commission will determine what is the truth and what is not the truth. Who are you to say what is the truth and what is not the truth?," he questioned.

"Do you think Google, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram will accept these things? Do you think a government in some bankrupt country with an authoritarian regime can dictate terms to the largest technology company in the world? What they will do is leave. They will leave Sri Lanka," he warned the Sri Lankan government.

The Sri Lankan Government is preparing to introduce new legislation that would suppress all online communication methods, including social media, via a commission appointed by the President.

As per the Online Safety Bill, the commission appointed by the President will be able to proscribe or suspend any social media account or online publication, and also recommend jail time for said offenses.