Cabinet approval for tougher laws on fake news

Thursday, 6 June 2019 01:28 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code to be amended 
  • Proposal to introduce fine up to Rs. 1 m and jail term up to 5 years

Cabinet yesterday approved a proposal to make amendments to the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code to take legal action against fake news, including statements that impact national security and incite violence between communities, with punishments of a fine up to Rs. 1 million and jail term of up to five years.  The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by Public Administration, Disaster Management, and Rural Economic Affairs Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara in his capacity as the Acting Minister of Justice and Prison Reforms to make amendments to the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code, enabling to impose a fine or imprisonment, the Government Information Department said in a short statement. 

The Cabinet proposal was made after the Parliamentary National Security Oversight Committee requested stronger laws to be drafted by the Justice and Prison Reforms Ministry in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks that left, according to Government records, 261 people dead and 407 people injured. 

Accordingly, the Justice Ministry has been given Cabinet approval to start formulating laws that have the capacity to fine offenders up to Rs. 1 million or hand down a prison sentence not exceeding five years, or impose both. 

Hate speech and fake news have been blamed in Sri Lanka for instigating anti-Muslim violence on several occasions – most recently in the Gampaha District and the North Western Province.