In a recent statement, the Canada High Commission expressed deep concern over Sri Lanka’s Online Safety Act, warning of potential repercussions on both economic recovery and democratic values. The statement, released via social media, highlighted the importance of protecting fundamental rights, particularly freedom of expression, in any legislation aimed at regulating online content.

“We share the concerns that Sri Lanka’s Online Safety Act has the potential to harm economic recovery and restrict the legitimate discourse expected in a democratic society,” the tweet read.

The Canadian High Commission emphasized the need for any measures taken to address harmful content online to be balanced w,ith the protection of fundamental rights. This includes ensuring that freedom of expression is safeguarded, a cornerstone of democratic societies.

The Sri Lankan government’s Online Safety Act has faced criticism from various quarters, with concerns raised about its potential impact on freedom of speech and the functioning of online platforms. Critics argue that the bill grants authorities excessive powers to regulate online content, potentially leading to censorship and the stifling of dissenting voices.

Canada’s statement adds to the international scrutiny surrounding Sri Lanka’s Online Safety Act, reflecting growing global concern over the implications of such legislation on democratic norms and economic stability.