Expats unhappy about Sri Lankan social media ban

Published:  30 Apr at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA
Sri Lanka’s government ban on social media following the Easter Sunday terrorist bombings is causing problems for expat nationals as well as foreign expats living and working on the island.

Whilst everyone realises the immediate need to curb massive numbers of social media comments for security reasons, the ban is making life difficult for both Sri Lankan expats overseas and foreign expats needing to reassure their families they’re fine and are coping with the situation. At the same time, fake news reports and further incitement to violence, If allowed to be spread via social media, could inflame the situation and cause more deaths and injuries.

What’sApp, Facebook and Instagram continue to be blocked, with YouTube, Snapchat and Viber also affected, but Twitter doesn’t seem to have been banned. Sri Lanka has a history of violence, mostly provoked by sectarian and ethnic discontent and, although the island’s official religion is Buddhism, a number of minorities also exist. According to one government official, new rumours or accusations may result in riots, and even unintentional misinformation could cause problems.

Prior to the terrorist suicide bombing attacks, Sri Lanka’s government had already instituted a week’s ban in March on platforms including WhatsApp for content believed to be encouraging anti-Moslem sentiment and violence. Journalists are now asking why the online media giants can’t pick up on such posts and stop them before they take root in the minds of terrorists and other violent activists.

According to the government, the blockages will continue until the investigation is wrapped up, with expats being asked to stay clear of media outlets inciting mistrust and panic as well as supporting each other and those in their areas who’ve been affected by the appalling Easter Sunday tragedy.
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