Restrict access to certain social media websites and phone messaging applications

Today, extraordinary measures were taken to restrict access to certain social media websites and phone messaging applications. These measures have been taken by the TRC as an extraordinary but temporary response to limit the increasing spread of hate speech and violence through social media websites and phone messaging applications. 

The last few days have seen technology created to bring people together being used to pull people apart. Social media websites such as Facebook, Whatsapp and Viber - which were created to bring us closer to our friends and family and make communication free and convenient, have been used to destroy families, lives and private property. 

I don’t need to remind the young people of this country that hate, violence and discrimination robbed you of a life full of opportunity and a country full of prosperity. 

Do not make the mistakes of our past generations. You have today an opportunity to create a Sri Lanka where everyone can live in peace and prosperity. You have in your hands, technology that our forefathers didn’t even imagine was possible. These technologies are the fruits of peace and their purpose is the pursuance of peace and unity amongst all people, no matter their race, religion, caste or gender. 

When you spread hate and violence against anyone, you will not only sow the seeds of suffering towards others but suffering towards yourself. You will secure this land of ours as one of eternal pain and lost opportunity. Don’t be a part of making that history because you can be a part of making something better. A Sri Lanka that is better for everyone. A Sri Lanka that shines as a beacon of hope to the rest of the world. A Sri Lanka that has used the fruits of peace to create a garden of unity, strength and opportunity for all our people. Be a part of that history.  

Put down your smart phones, let go of your hate and help make a new Sri Lanka that is good for everyone.

Harin Fernando 
Minister for Telecommunications ,Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment