“Creating regulatory bodies that issue orders with short time frames backed up by large penalties is likely to shut off the opportunities for collaboration. If the costs of complying with the directions of the regulator from a small and insignificant market are excessive, the platform companies are likely to withdraw their services from Sri Lanka causing significant harm to users. Such outcomes will not endear the responsible politicians to the active youth demographic that is likely to be decisive in the coming elections.
The Government claims that some individuals experience significant harm caused by online content. Some, if not all, critics of the Government’s Online Safety Bill will agree. The divergence is on whether this legislation is the solution. I have outlined below that the solution proffered by this Bill is ineffective. It would also make things worse for those who suffer the harm. It is likely to make things worse for all who use services provided by the global tech companies.”