COLOMBO, 3 APRIL – Sri Lanka has limited access to key social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, according to internet monitoring group NetBlocks, following the government’s imposition of a curfew to address mounting dissent amid an unprecedented economic crisis.
Sri Lanka has enforced a statewide social media blackout, barring access to platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and Instagram, according to real-time network statistics, as an emergency has been proclaimed amid widespread protests “In a tweet, NetBlocks stated.
The limits on social media sites have been confirmed by a senior police officer based in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s commercial hub.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission has also banned social media “Senior Superintendent of Police Nihal Thalduwa told Reuters.
The limitations came after the government imposed a nationwide curfew on Saturday following violent protests against the government’s handling of the economic crisis. On Monday, the curfew will be in effect until 6 a.m. (0030 GMT).
According to Thalduwa, police arrested 664 persons who defied curfew laws in the Western Province, the country’s most populous administrative district, which encompasses Colombo.
Following directions from the government, the authorities implemented limits on social media.
“The social media ban is only temporary and has been implemented as a result of special directives from the Defense Ministry. It was implemented in the country’s and people’s best interests to keep the peace “Jayantha de Silva, Chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, told Reuters.
On Friday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency, prompting worries of a crackdown on protesters as the country struggles with inflation, food shortages, and power outages.
The military has used emergency powers in the past to arrest and hold suspects without warrants, but the scope of the current authorities remain unclear.