21 June, 2018

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Continued Ban On Social Media Draws ‘Friendly Fire’ From Colombo Diplomats

Sections of the diplomatic community that has by and large supported the Government’s crackdown on the freedom of expression following communal rights have now said it’s time the ban on social media was lifted.

President Sirisena

The Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchesson tweeted, “Time, overdue, to lift Sri Lanka’s blanket blocking of key social media platforms – a blunt instrument.” Earlier US Ambassador Atul Keshap said that it was hate-filled people and not social media per se that were to blame.

“Social media is an imperfect, evolving, and fluid platform that uses new technology to connect and reflect human societies as a whole, including the good and bad,” he observed in a twitter post.

Social media platforms including Facebook,WhatsApp, Viber and Imo have been blocked since last week, supposedly ‘to prevent transmitting fake news or rumours that instill a fear psychosis or a threat to communal harmony.’

Dr Harsha De Silva, who tweeted last Thursday (8th) that hate speech on facebook was increasing beyond acceptable levels and that the Government will have to act immediately to save lives, stated on two days later that the ban on  social media would be lifted the same day (10th).

Meanwhile, although the Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Harin Fernando is reported to have told the ‘Daily Mirror’ that the ban would be lifted on Monday, the platforms mentioned above remain blocked.  

Fernando mentioned the time consuming nature of ‘removing content such as hate speech published on Facebook in Sinhala’ as the reason for the delay. The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, which handles such matters come under his portfolio.

The opposition, however, opines that the ban is part of a Government strategy to curb the freedom of expression.

Addressing a news briefing on Monday, Leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya and a vocal spokesperson for the Joint Opposition Udaya Gammanpila pointed out that ‘a number of users had utilized social media platforms to express their sentiments against the government during the recent past.’

“The violent incidents in Kandy are no more and the curfew has been lifted. The State of Emergency would be expired on Wednesday but the ban on social media is still in effect. The government which came to power to ensure freedom of expression attempts to suppress social media today hiding behind Kandy violence,” he added.

Giving credence to Gammanpila’s stand on the matter is the fact that certain disturbing incidents reported by the wire-agencies have gone unmentioned in the mainstream media.

For example Reuters and Al Jazeera reported that a grenade blast killed one person on Wednesday (7th). The identity of the victim, whether or not it was the person who had the grenade, and the circumstances remain a mystery.  

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Latest comments

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    Britain, Canada, EU, USA and Australia have refused to accept the explanation for Social media blocking. So it is abundantly clear the foreign nations like to take messages from Social Media, but no longer interested to pay for Rupavahini and buy “LTTE Killing” clips. The Social Media blockade came important to Aanduwa because it is not the shame of Lankawe is going out on these clips, Rupavahini’s sales is going down. During the war time, Old Royals had made BBC to pay and buy and re-telecast Rupavahini’s clips under joint operation contract to mains the BBC’s Lankawe license. Only one or two TVs like Channel 4 or Aljazeera reported independently, of Lankawe massacre of Tamils, during the war. American Ambassador has very eloquently put it down the Social Media don’t learn A B C D to write its own hate messages, but it is the society who has been taught to hate is writing the hate messages in the Social Media.
    We need not look at fact that social media’s Gossip News content increase only when the local media is suppressed by money, military or masters the power. If the media manages to steer away from money and masters, and reflect the truth, people will discard the officially unconfirmed rumors. During the election time, people badly needed the social media to rest and relax from the constant harassment of Maharaja, Derana and others.
    The entire campaign victory of Slap Party in election was about hate mongering. Neither SLFP nor UNP was prepared to counter this hate mongering in the election. Only Sampanthan Aiya talked about it in the Parliament but no one else, especially no Muslim minister. Now it is the same UNP and SLFP blocking the social media in behalf of Hakeem and Rishard. Udaya Gammanpila is now the chief proponent against of social media blockade.

  • 0
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    Is there anything good in letting social media bring out their message than banning them completely? Well there are many. Social media is democracies election, secret voting and a referendum on the social issues. It is extremely important the society and the rulers of it to come to know these referendums of the social media. Social media is not simple a venting fan. For government who has no programs to cure the ethnic unrest, observing the contents of the social media is the first step to formulate a sincere program to counter the ethnic unrest. Then it needs the social media to evaluate the erectness of the program it implements. Then it need to monitor and to ensure the ethnic hate gone, it needs the social media content. This government, which sat, relaxed and watched Slap Party caring out is hate election campaign and thus how it scooped up its election loss now banning social media is, in a way, like closing the staple gate after the horse bolted.

  • 0
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    There was need to stop or reduce the proliferation of inciteful comments. US election was completely affected by Fake News, Russian Trolls and fake profiles on FaceBook and Instagram. Russian involvement was so complex and so deep that Obama was caught unawares. The investigations are still going on. You can see how my Bully Twittering President bullies, threatens and insults everyone EXCEPT the Russians on Twitter? Why? HE fired Rex Tillerson the day after Rex condemned Russian poisoning of a former spy in England. WHY? Putin has something on Trump; probably the peeing tape or even more. The election in USA was basically delivered to Trump because of Social media lies and fake stories. Trump is a amoral unethical corrupt Papa Doc Duvalier in WhiteSkin. His family is corrupt. His daughter draws $1.5million from Trump Organization while being a so called top official of the WhiteHouse. The dumb son sells houses in Delhi using the name. The Jew Son In law sells Greencards to Chinks to invest in his shady property deals. Atul Keshap has no moral right to preach Good Governance to Sri Lanka when he represents the most immoral CORRUPT Presidency filled with stupid people and family members running amok. Even so many of his CAbinet and other officials have been corrupt. Social media made Trump President of USA with lies.

  • 0
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    Trump administration is filthy corrupt and full of liars. US Ambassdor Should STFU

  • 1
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    IT looks some one needs a Rohingya type Muslim violence in Sri lanka. Rohingya was completely west wanted. they created rohingya from Arkahan Muslims, Saudi Arabia provied weapons and know terrorists. The need of social media m,ay be to spread the muslim violenc ein Sri lanka which did not subside yet. this is the fourth such muslims violence. IT may be they want a ISIS freedom struggle here. In the mean time, Search for documented lost money goes on. Always it comes about TH”REE BILLION. There are so many three billions (dollars, mixed foreign cuyrrency, rupees). IT says Maithriapala sirisena probably his children’s name has Rs three billion in VANU”VAATHU. There is a man in Srilanka from Vanuvaathu discussing something related to that. KArynarathne Divulgane had said, when he was the govrnor even he was asked by Mahinda Rajapkse whether he can deposit money in the name of K.Divulgane. that is the reason why he quit as the governor.

  • 0
    0

    Is there anything good in letting social media bring out their message than banning them completely? Well there are many. Social media is democracies election, secret voting and a referendum on the social issues. It is extremely important the society and the rulers of it to come to know these referendums of the social media. Social media is not simple a venting fan. For government who has no programs to cure the ethnic unrest, observing the contents of the social media is the first step to formulate a sincere program to counter the ethnic unrest. Then it needs the social media to evaluate the erectness of the program it implements. Then it need to monitor and to ensure the ethnic hate gone, it needs the social media content. This government, which sat, relaxed and watched Slap Party caring out is hate election campaign and thus how it scooped up its election loss now banning social media is, in a way, like closing the staple gate after the horse bolted.

    Britain, Canada, EU, USA and Australia have refused to accept the explanation for Social media blocking. So it is abundantly clear the foreign nations like to take messages from Social Media, but no longer interested to pay for Rupavahini and buy “LTTE Killing” clips. The Social Media blockade came important to Aanduwa because it is not the shame of Lankawe is going out on these clips, Rupavahini’s sales is going down. During the war time, Old Royals had made BBC to pay and buy and re-telecast Rupavahini’s clips under joint operation contract to mains the BBC’s Lankawe license. Only one or two TVs like Channel 4 or Aljazeera reported independently, of Lankawe massacre of Tamils, during the war. American Ambassador has very eloquently put it down the Social Media don’t learn A B C D to write its own hate messages, but it is the society who has been taught to hate is writing the hate messages in the Social Media.

  • 0
    0

    We need not look at fact that social media’s Gossip News content increase only when the local media is suppressed by money, military or masters the power. If the media manages to steer away from money and masters, and reflect the truth, people will discard the officially unconfirmed rumors. During the election time, people badly needed the social media to rest and relax from the constant harassment of Maharaja, Derana and others.
    The entire campaign victory of Slap Party in election was about hate mongering. Neither SLFP nor UNP was prepared to counter this hate mongering in the election. Only Sampanthan Aiya talked about it in the Parliament but no one else, especially no Muslim minister. Now it is the same UNP and SLFP blocking the social media in behalf of Hakeem and Rishard. Udaya Gammanpila is now the chief proponent against of social media blockade.

    Ranil is giving promise to UNHRC that Resolution 30/1 will be implemented fully. New King promised in Japan that China will be controlled Dragon Army using Hangbangtota to launch missiles on Japan, but not to help Rapist Army to put down any local “Biriyani and Arrack” coup. They (Ranil and New King) are twins in giving promises.

    War without witness was success and Rupavahini made few pennies by selling media clips to International Media as “LTTE killing”, while 300,000 Tamils were being killed by Rapist Army during the 30 years of war. There is no account of LTTE haven killed even 1000 civilians but JVP said to have killed 12,000 civilians in 1989 struggle alone.
    This is where the Social Media ban becomes necessary, not because of it is internally spreading hating i.e. War with Muslims without Witness.

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