“Spreading hate speech via social media is dangerous,” Premier addresses Maldives Parliament

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – “Finding a balance between the democratisation of news and the legal obligations of the user to prevent harm is the complex question that many countries have to grapple with, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stated in Male.

He stressed that the abuse of democratic space through disseminating hate speeches and fake news are a real danger. “The social media is like a god of ancient times: Both the creator and the destroyer: It has the ability to spread the message of freedom as well as to rouse passions and emotions that lead to its destruction,” he said.

He added that social media is the dilemma of the cyber space and democracy – the frightening ability to create a thousand Hiltlers setting fire to a thousand Reichstags.

The Prime Minister was addressing the Maldivian Parliament yesterday (03) at the invitation of Maldivian Speaker and former President Mohammed Nasheed.

The Prime Minister gave an outline on how Sri Lanka strengthened Parliament democracy and the independence of the Independent Commissions through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

He said Sri Lanka has achieved independence of democratic institutions through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

“Laws along do not strengthen democracy. The strengthening of key democratic institutions, and the implementing mechanism is necessary. He added that the appointees to the Constitutional Council are no longer dependent on the whims of the executive under the 19th Amendment. “They have the space to act independently.”

The Prime Minister added that 19th Amendment was deemed necessary due to flagrant violations of the Constitution under the previous regime.

“One of the core tenets of democracy is people’s right to information. It has been included as a fundamental right in the 19th Amendment. The Right to Information Act passed by our Parliament is recognised as one of the strongest such laws in the world”, the Premier said.

“Today, the major features of the Westminster Parliamentary Government exist side by side with an Executive Presidency – which we are committed to abolish due to its profound powers that have often been exploited and abused by its incumbents – with impunity. He added that the 19th Amendment further strengthened Parliament by restricting the President’s powers to dissolve Parliament. “The President cannot dissolve Parliament for 4-and-a-half-years unless Parliament requests a dissolution by a two-thirds majority.”

The Prime Minister said diversification in trade is a strong component of the bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Maldives. “The Maldives is the third largest export destination for Sri Lanka among the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries, after India and Pakistan. The value of total trade between the two countries, which stood at USD 271.1 million in 2017, has increased to the level of USD 304.3 million in 2018,” he added.

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