Sri Lanka imposes nationwide social media blackout: internet watchdog
The Sri Lankan government has imposed a nationwide social media blackout after midnight on Sunday April 3, according to an internet observatory.
About 20 social media platforms were affected, including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram.
“Confirmed: Real-time network data shows Sri Lanka has imposed a nationwide social media blackout, restricting access to platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Instagram amidst the emergency declared amid widespread protests,” NetBlocks tweeted.
Ahead of the protest scheduled for Sunday, the island nation had declared a 36-hour curfew from Saturday to Monday as the country faced a severe power crisis and rising inflation.
The island nation of 22 million is struggling to cope with power outages of up to 13 hours a day as the government scrambles to obtain foreign currency to pay for fuel imports.
A London-based rights watchdog warned the Sri Lankan government on Saturday that declaring an emergency in the island nation, in the name of public safety, should not become a pretext for human rights abuses.
“Sri Lanka: The declaration of a state of emergency in the name of public security must not become a pretext for further human rights violations. The ordinance declaring a state of emergency aims to restrict the rights to freedom of association, assembly and movement as well as guarantees of due process,” Amnesty International said in a statement.
“In the context of growing public discontent with the government’s handling of the economic crisis, the state of emergency could have the effect of stifling dissent by creating fear, facilitating arbitrary arrests and detentions “, adds the press release.
On Friday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued the Extraordinary Gazette declaring a state of public emergency in Sri Lanka with immediate effect.
Rajapaksa said the state of emergency was declared in the interest of public safety, protection of public order and maintenance of essential supplies and services for the life of the community.
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