Facebook page suspension:
I presume these suppressions are being made without the knowledge of the President and that’s why we want the President to carry out an inquiry into this
■a similar thing which had happened to me could happen to anybody
■should take immediate action against the suppression of social media
■about 1500 Facebook pages have been removed so far
By Sheain Fernandopulle
While reiterating that the government was behind the suspension of his Facebook page, popular musician Iraj Weeraratne yesterday requested President Maithripala Sirisena to intervene into the matter and to carry out an inquiry into the incident.
Addressing a news briefing, he said a similar thing which had happened to me could happen to anybody, and therefore should take immediate action against the suppression of social media. “I suspect the government is behind the move but it is uncertain as to whether the government or the President’s office is behind it.
“However, when considering the remarks made by Megapolis Ministry’s Media Secretary Dhanushka Ramanayake that two persons attached to the Presidential Secretariat are behind the malicious post which stated that he has instructed the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) to suspend my Facebook page, I have a fair suspicion that the Presidential Secretariat is engaged in the move to suppress the social media platform in Sri Lanka,” Iraj said. He said about 1500 Facebook pages have been removed so far and it indicates that the authorities had curbed the platform for the people to express their views and thus violated the freedom of speech.
“I presume these suppressions are being made without the knowledge of the President and that’s why we want the President to carry out an inquiry into this,” he added.
Nevertheless, he said they had used Facebook as a powerful platform to carry out charitable work like cancer projects. Besides, we have used Facebook as an effective medium to expose the social issues into public domain and bring the burning issues of the people to the attention of authorities. He said they also raised their voice through Facebook urging Minister Sajith Premadasa to look into the Kuragala temple power crisis. In addition, we criticized the bill-sticking campaign by the incumbent government. He said he also launched a campaign on Facebook demanding the release of Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera because they were totally against the imprisonment of a prelate in an unjust manner. “Taking all of these into consideration, I suspect my Facebook page was removed in retaliation to the campaign we carried out against the present Government. I should raise the point here that I have not been engaged in posting or sharing any kind of hate speech on Facebook,” he stressed.
■I suspect my FB page was removed in retaliation to the campaign we carried out against the present Government
■I should raise the point here that I have not been engaged in posting or sharing any kind of hate speech on Facebook
When asked about his future actions on this, Iraj said he would bring this matter to the notice of Facebook headquarters.
Meanwhile, he said it was questionable as to how people like Zahran Hashim carried out their campaigns based on extremism through Facebook without being subject to any suppression.
Pix by Kithsiri de Mel