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Friday, February 23, 2024

Proposed Hate Speech Law Comes Under Fire

Two Bills to introduce anti-hate speech laws and criminalizing the instigation of communal violence and disharmony that were presented in Parliament  on 11th December has come under serious criticism by informed circles. The Ceylon Today reported that two bills in relation to hate speech were presented by the Media Minister Gayantha Karunatilake on 11th December. The two bills are titled Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) and Penal Code (Amendment) and will be taken up for debate at a later date according to the report.

Gehan Gunatilleka says that it has copied some clauses from the infamous PTA:

The editor of Citizen Journalist website Sanjana Hattotuwa tweeted thus:

The Ceylon Today report provides some insights to the bills:

The Bill seeking to amend the Penal Code states that ‘Whoever, by the use of words spoken, written or intended to be read, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, intends to cause or attempts to instigate acts of violence, or to create religious, racial or communal disharmony, or feelings of ill-will or hostility, between communities or different racial or religious groups, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term exceeding two years.’

The Bill to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure seeks to introduce provisions of a two-year prison sentence for anyone guilty of ‘causing or instigating acts of violence or religious, racial or communal disharmony or feelings of ill-will or hostility by the use of words spoken, written or intended to be read, or by signs, or by visible representation or otherwise.’

The bills presented to the parliament fellows:

Penal Code Amendment

CrimPC Amendment




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