Opposition’s attempt to stop OSB bill debate defeated

January 23, 2024 at 12:12 PM

A vote was held in Parliament today on whether or not to take up for debate the government’s proposed Online Safety Bill (OSB).

A total of 83 Parliamentarians voted in favour, while 50 MPs voted against taking up the Online Safety Bill for debate today. 

Accordingly, following the vote, the proposed Online Safety Bill will be taken up for debate in Parliament today. 

Earlier today, taking to ‘X’, Opposition MP Harsha de Silva alleged that Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena was trying to go ahead with the debate with 42 clauses to be amended. 

“This is the position of the #SriLanka government. Standing orders dictate that the Oversight Committee Report must be tabled, but no such report,” he said.

The Parliament was thereafter adjourned for Party Leaders to discuss whether or not to take up for debate the proposed Online Safety Bill.

“Almost all opposition parties in @ParliamentLK met Speaker now to urge him to postpone the proposed debate on #OnlineSafetyBill scheduled for later today (34/56 clauses unconstitutional),” MP de Silva said.

The Opposition MP further said that during the discussion the Opposition pointed out the grave consequences of the passage of this draconian legislation.

MP Harsha de Silva went on to note that the Speaker had, however, decided to proceed with a vote after failing to recognize his intervention to oppose the Bill.

“Speaker of #Parliament didn’t recognize me for my intervention to insist by passing this Bill objective of dealing with real crimes online will not be met as platforms will not comply at the very least without a safe harbour condition. Now vote to decide to proceed with debate or not,” he added. (NewsWire)