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Cabinet nod for bill to curb hate speech and cyber bullying


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Reeling from the chaos of the recent communal clashes that enveloped parts of the country, a bill to monitor and control cyberbullying and hate speech titled ‘Protection of Human Dignity and Social Harmony’ was given Cabinet approval this week.

This bill will also address the issue of ‘Surreptitious efforts to create social unrest and religious and communal disharmony among the people’.

The Bill was presented by Minister of Justice Thalatha Athukorala, who in a Cabinet memorandum noted that “the delicate balance between the freedom of speech and expression and freedom from harassment have to be enunciated precisely”.

The memorandum further pointed out that “immediate measures need to be taken to stem the tide of unfair use of social and other electronic media”.

The bill will provide for the following incidents to be regarded as an offence: the violation of the privacy of individuals and the causing of religious, racial or communal disharmony among people; a person who intentionally or knowingly captures, exhibits, displays, distributes, publishes or transmits an intimate image of a private nature of a person without the written consent of such a person; commits the above act to transmit a sexual image of a person with the intention of causing that person distress is also caught up, as is a person who commits the above acts and transmits the image of a person in a manner to which no reasonable person will consent; and a person who causes religious, social, or communal disharmony through social or any other electronic media.


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