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Social Media Networks Blocked in Sri Lanka as Government Declares Emergency

The murder of a Sinhalese Buddhist by a group of Muslim men in Kandy, Sri Lanka has led to widespread communal violence in the island nation, prompting the Sri Lankan government to declare emergency.

Shouvik Das | News18.com

Updated:April 21, 2019, 5:26 PM IST
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Social Media Networks Blocked in Sri Lanka as Government Declares Emergency
Image for representation | Image credit: Reuters
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The Sri Lankan government has declared a state of emergency, and the island citizens have been blocked out of apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.

The murder of a Sinhalese Buddhist by a group of Muslim men in Kandy, Sri Lanka has led to widespread communal violence in the island nation, prompting the Sri Lankan government to declare emergency. In light of this, multiple major social media networks have been blocked from operating in Sri Lanka for a few days, and Sri Lankan citizen have been locked out of the popular communication media in the country. The major social media networks blocked in the country include Facebook, Viber, WhatsApp and Instagram, making for all of the most popular social media platforms that the common citizen use to contact each other.

Further reports across the internet state that the city of Kandy has been entirely blocked from accessing internet, as the government looks to restrict the spread of rumours, misinformation, fake news, hate speech and other related propaganda. While such a measure is crucial in order to tackle communal violence, this leaves the common citizen blocked from communicating each other in the easiest possible method. While standard cellphone networks are still believed to be active, it is highly probable that the crisis may lead to potential communication paranoia across the nation, which faces its first state of emergency, over a decade after its civil war in the early 2000s.

The blackout of internet services in Kandy, Sri Lanka is ongoing at the moment, and it is not yet clear how the situation might get resolved, or when. It remains to be seen how the blackout affects the common citizen, and whether it helps the government in tackling the civil crisis. The question of propaganda and misinformation has ravaged India multiple time in light of regional communal violence, and multiple internet blackouts have often been deployed in order to take on the impact of social media in spreading of violence-ridden posts.

(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
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