Restrictions on WhatsApp to be lifted from midnight

Restrictions on WhatsApp to be lifted from midnight

March 14, 2018   03:10 pm

The restrictions imposed on WhatsApp will be lifted from midnight today (14), the Government of Sri Lanka said. 

Issuing a statement the President’s Media Division said that the Government has taken steps to restrict access to social media tools temporarily during the last few days, in order to curtail the attempts to spread communal violence across the country, misusing the social media in a manner detrimental to the national harmony.  

“In a context where the impact that could be made by social media to expeditiously increase the violent actions based on racism and religious extremism has been internationally proven, Sri Lanka was able to control the rapid spread of violence by temporarily imposing restriction on social media as an action to ensure the national and public safety of Sri Lanka.”

President Maithripala Sirisena, who is currently on a state visit to Japan, after evaluating the security situation of the country, has instructed the Secretary to the President to implement the necessary monitoring and surveillance methods, and allowed access to  Viber from midnight yesterday (13) lifting the temporary restriction imposed on it.

Furthermore, the President, based on further evaluation of the social media networks that are still denied access, has advised the lifting of restrictions on WhatsApp service with effect from midnight of today (March 14).

“However, the President stresses the importance of a guided mechanism to prevent the attempts to disturb the livelihoods of people through spreading ethnic-hatred and racism and damaging the image of an individual through false allegations.” 

A meeting will be held under the patronage of Secretary to the President, Austin Fernando and the representatives of Facebook at the Presidential Secretariat tomorrow (March 15). 

Through this discussion, the government is working on to arrive at a method to ensure the necessary protection and surveillance and lift the temporary restriction on access to Facebook, the PMD said.

The President has instructed the relevant authorities to take necessary steps immediately to bring normalcy in the country and ensure such disturbances would not recur and take legal actions against those who are responsible for those illegal activities.

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