Opposition leader and SJB Sajith Premadasa says that his party would reject and oppose the Online Safety Bill (OSB) when it is brought before Parliament by the Government.
Speaking at a special meeting held at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo, Premadasa said the Government, under the pretext of safeguarding the rights of the nation’s children, mothers, ordinary citizens, and vulnerable groups, is trying to consolidate itself through the introduction of anti-democratic laws.
Earlier in the day he and his party strongmen met with media organizations, civil society groups, trade unions, and various stakeholders at the same venue regarding the Online Safety Bill set to be tabled in Parliament on Tuesday (23).
Premadasa said that the provisions of the Bill violate human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of speech, discussion, debate, and access to information. He said that such actions undermine democratic processes.
“The President, despite projecting a democratic persona to the nation and the global community has betrayed this image through the enactment of this Act. This legislation grants him, along with the appointed commission members and designated security forces, the power to exert arbitrary pressure on the general population. The President has embarked on a program to silence the people by employing the threat of imprisonment,” he said.
Premadasa added that if the President is genuinely committed to democratic principles, it would be prudent to revoke this poorly conceived Act. Instead, he suggested engaging in a thoughtful and inclusive discussion with all stakeholders to avoid a scenario where the country’s social media landscape will be negatively affected.
He also assured that once the SJB forms a government it will repeal all anti-democratic laws and foster democratic principles and reiterated that every possible democratic and peaceful measure would be pursued by the SJB to block the anti-democratic laws introduced by the current Government.
Source: The Island