Sri Lanka moots jail terms for social media misuse

Sri Lankan rights groups warned Monday that proposed jail terms for spreading misinformation on social media amounted to a wholesale effort to stifle criticism of the island nation’s beleaguered government.

An “online safety bill” that mandates five-year prison sentences for any social media post government regulators consider to be “false” or causing offence is set to be presented to parliament this week.

The draft law compels social media platforms to divulge the identity of anonymous users accused of those crimes with a 10 million rupee ($31,000) fine for non-compliance.

“This is a very draconian piece of legislation that will have a chilling effect on the entire population,” Lasantha Ruhunuge of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association told reporters.

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