The government’s proposition to introduce ‘fake news’ as an offence under the Penal Code of Sri Lanka, has sparked a national conversation about the far-reaching implications of such a piece of legislation. The menace of ‘fake news’ has fuelled the escalation of tensions between ethnic groups, triggering multiple incidents of violence in Sri Lanka over the last few years. Criminalizing such a thing seems to be the logical solution to a widespread problem. But is it really? What are the consequences and ramifications Sri Lanka can expect from such a move?
To answer these questions, The Nightwatchman Society in collaboration with the Students for Liberty Sri Lanka Chapter organized this discussion on Saturday, the 15th of May 2021, featuring a panel of renowned experts. The panel included Dr Gehan Gunatillake (Attorney-at-Law specializing in Human Rights and Constitutional Law, and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School), Ms Bhavani Fonseka (Attorney-at-Law and a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives), Ms Roel Raymond (Editor in Chief of Roar Media), and Mr Imran Furkan (Chief Executive Officer of Tresync, Former Chief Executive Officer of SLASSCOM and the Sri Lanka Press Institute). The moderator was our very own Sumhiya Sallay.
This talk covered a diverse range of fascinating topics from the spillover effects of criminalizing specific components of speech, regulations mechanisms of the Sri Lankan Media industry to the role of technology in achieving a viable solution, and many more.
If you missed the session, the recording is now available on our Youtube Channel.