The United States and European Union should consider halting all business dealings with Sri Lanka, including suspending all exports and imports.
— Director, Tamils for Biden
NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES, January 29, 2024 /EINPresswire.com/ — Tamils for Biden denounces the Online Safety Bill passed by the Sri Lankan parliament on January 24, 2024. This bill is a serious assault on the basic rights and liberties of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.
The bill gives the government sweeping powers to control, prosecute, and silence online voices of dissent, especially targeting the Tamil community, who have suffered from discrimination and oppression by the Sinhalese majority for decades. Under this law, an Online Safety Commission will be set up, appointed by the president, with the power to issue orders to remove or block online content that is considered as “prohibited statements”.
The bill’s definition of “prohibited purposes” is very vague and broad, covering threats to national security, public order, public health, public morality, as well as the rights and reputation of others. This vague language can easily be abused by the government to suppress any form of critique, opposition, or expression of Tamil identity, culture, and aspirations.
In addition, the bill also criminalizes the use of online accounts and bots for prohibited purposes and imposes harsh penalties for spreading false information. These measures not only weaken legitimate sources of information, such as independent media, civil society, and human rights defenders, but also target those who expose the government’s corruption, misconduct, and bias against the Tamil community.
It is important to note that the Online Safety Bill is very similar to the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) introduced in Sri Lanka in 1979. Over the years, the PTA has been used to target journalists, activists, and government critics, especially those from the Tamil community. This law has also played a major role in limiting access to websites and social media platforms that highlight human rights abuses and war crimes committed in Sri Lanka. The outcomes have been tragic, resulting in many deaths, enforced disappearances, and cases of torture inflicted on Tamils by the authorities.
Moreover, this bill threatens the digital economy and foreign investment in Sri Lanka. It is clear that the government, led by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, is using this law as a tool to consolidate power and suppress any form of dissent before the upcoming presidential elections.
Tamils for Biden urgently appeals to the governments of the United States and European Union to act against this grave violation of human rights, ensuring the protection of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Online freedom and the right to express one’s views are fundamental principles that must be respected and upheld. We stand in solidarity with the Tamils in Sri Lanka and will continue to fight for their rights, freedoms, and aspirations.
Some supportive links for the above press release are:
Sri Lanka passes controversial bill to regulate online content
Sri Lanka Passes Online Safety Bill – The Diplomat
Tamil Diaspora Willing to take Tamils’ Homeland from Struggling Sri Lanka and Install a New Administration – Tamils for Biden
Online Safety Bill (Sri Lanka) – Wikipedia
Tamils for Biden: Now is the Time to Return the Tamil Eelam to the Original and Rightful Rulers of the Land, the Tamils. – EIN Presswire
Tamils for Biden
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Article originally published on www.einpresswire.com as Tamils Call on US and EU to Act Against Online Safety Bill, Imperiling Their Rights and Freedoms: Tamils for Biden