The much-disputed Online Safety Act has been brought under the purview of the Ministry of Public Security, as per an Extraordinary Gazette notification.
According to the relevant gazette issued by the Presidential Secretariat, the Online Safety Act will be brought under the Ministry of Public Security, with effect from 07 February.
The legislation which seeks to regulate online content was passed in Parliament, with amendments, on 24 January, amidst objections from opposition politicians and activists who allege the new law will muzzle free speech.
The controversial Bill garnered not only the attention of local activists and organisations, but also that of diplomats and large international organisations, claiming that the Bill had numerous problematic aspects.
The Sri Lankan government says the Online Safety Bill, published in the government gazette on 18 September, aims to ban online communication of certain statements in the country, prevent the use of online accounts – both authentic and inauthentic – for the use of prohibited purposes, to suppress the financing and other support of communication of false statements and other related matters.
President to retain Environment Ministry
A gazette notification has been released stating that, subsequent to a discussion with the Prime Minister, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has opted to retain the post of Environment Minister.
The move comes a day after former Environment Minister and SLPP MP Keheliya Rambukwella resigned from the post, following his arrest in connection with the procurement of substandard human immunoglobulin that during his tenure as the Health Minister.
Rambukwella was arrested on 02 February after he arrived at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to record a statement with regards to the incident.