In response to comments made by a Sri Lankan Minister in Parliament regarding the Online Safety Bill, the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) has issued a statement expressing its reservations about the proposed legislation.

The AIC, which is committed to constructive collaboration, revealed that it has not been provided with details of the proposed amendments to the bill. Despite this, the coalition is steadfast in its stance, asserting that the current form of the Online Safety Bill is deemed unworkable and has the potential to hinder growth and foreign direct investment in Sri Lanka’s digital economy.

The Asia Internet Coalition would like to address and refute certain assertions made in the statement read by the Minister of Public Security in Parliament concerning the Online Safety Bill. The Minister’s statement does not accurately reflect the substantial contributions that the AIC has made throughout the legislative process, which include comprehensive submissions as well as engagements such as hosting representatives from the Ministry of Public Security at the annual Online Safety Forum organised by the AIC in Singapore.

These engagements and representations eventually culminated with our last submission to the Ministry on 8 January 2024.

Despite our commitment to constructive collaboration, the AIC has not been privy to proposed amendments to the bill. We unequivocally stand by our position that the Online Safety Bill, in its current form, is unworkable and would undermine potential growth and foreign direct investment into Sri Lanka’s digital economy.

We firmly believe that for the Bill to align with global best practices, extensive revisions are imperative.