JHU wants govt to counter adverse news on social media


Leaders of the government should allocate time to counter adverse ideologies and news that were spread using social media, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) said.

JHU member and Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said, "If our leaders don’t have the time for that the Ministry of Mass media and the Police should respond to news and rumours that were spread using social media.

"Many foreign leaders have allocated time for responding to ideologies and news that are spread via social media. We can’t wait till newspapers or other traditional media outlets to carry our counter propaganda.

Since the communal clashes in Kandy had ended, the government should take immediate steps to remove the restrictions on social media platforms, the JHU said.

It said it agreed with the decision taken by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), during the clashes, to restrict social media platforms. During emergencies even Western nations resorted to such measures and even text messages were blocked under such circumstances, the JHU said.

"Only a small number of people are involved in such incidents and when the government imposes a curfew a large number of people who were not involved are also inconvenienced. It’s the same when we restrict social media but we have to take these steps to stop the spread of hate.".

However, since normalcy now prevailed, the government should lift the ban, while putting in place mechanisms that would prevent any resurgence, the JHU said. "The law enforcement agencies must question those arrested, uncover whether they belong to a political party. The police have a responsibility to tell the people what they know because their silence allows certain groups to spread misinformation."

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