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Asia Internet Coalition Urges Extensive Revisions to Sri Lanka’s Online Safety Bill

The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), a consortium representing global internet and technology companies, has expressed deep concerns regarding the Online Safety Bill in Sri Lanka. AIC, comprised of industry giants such as Amazon, Apple,, Expedia Group, Google, GoTo, Grab, LINE, LinkedIn, Meta, Rakuten, X, and Yahoo, has called for substantial revisions and a comprehensive overhaul of the proposed legislation.

In a letter addressed to Public Security Minister Tiran Alles, AIC’s Managing Director, Jeff Paine, conveyed appreciation for the efforts undertaken in collaboration with the industry. However, Paine emphasized the need for a more thorough and meaningful consultation process to effectively address the complexities and nuances inherent in the Bill.

Acknowledging the intricate nature of the legislative process and ongoing deliberations, Paine stressed the importance of ensuring that the Online Safety Bill is not only effective but also balanced, proportionate, and practicable in its scope and approach. The current draft, if not comprehensively addressed, poses significant challenges that could impede the potential growth of Sri Lanka’s digital economy.

AIC’s written submissions, attached to the letter, outlined specific concerns encompassing regulatory independence, extraterritorial application, the broad definition of intermediaries, ambiguous terminology defining prohibited statements, and deviations from international human rights and best practice standards.

The coalition asserted that without extensive revisions, the proposed legislation would be unworkable, emphasizing the economic implications for Sri Lanka’s digital ecosystem. AIC underscored the urgency of reconsidering the current draft, particularly addressing criminal liabilities, safe harbor provisions, turnaround times, and user data access.

While recognizing the complexity of drafting such legislation and the importance of addressing online safety concerns, AIC advocated for a collaborative approach. The coalition expressed its commitment to working with the Government of Sri Lanka to create a more workable and effective Online Safety Bill aligned with global best practices.

AIC highlighted its previous engagement with local stakeholders in Sri Lanka to develop a comprehensive Code of Practice for Online Safety and Responsible Content. Recommending the integration of relevant elements from this code into the current bill, AIC emphasized the value of a collaborative and inclusive approach to enhance the effectiveness of the legislation.

In conclusion, AIC requested the thorough consideration of the highlighted issues in their submission by the Government of Sri Lanka. The coalition expressed eagerness to engage in further consultations and meaningful dialogues on the Online Safety Bill.

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