56% of those who know about Online Safety Bill think it will curtail freedom: Verité Research

Only a third of those surveyed said they knew about the bill

Colombo, 26 November 2023

In a survey commissioned by Verité Research, 56% of those who said they knew about the Online Safety Bill also said it will reduce the freedom of using social media. To the question ‘the government introduced a bill to parliament on regulating behavior on social media, do you know about it?’, one-third (34%) of respondents said ‘yes’. Of those who said ‘yes’, 56% said it will ‘reduce the freedom of using social media’, 25% said ‘it will not make much of a difference’ and 19% said ‘it will reduce the misuse of social media’.

The status of the bill

The Online Safety Bill, published in the government gazette on 18 September and tabled in parliament on 3 October, aims to establish an Online Safety Commission with defined powers and functions. The Supreme Court has determined that 31 clauses in the bill should be amended for it to be passed with a simple majority. In its current state, a special majority of two-thirds is required for its passage.

Survey methodology

The poll was based on an island-wide, nationally representative sample of responses from 1,029 Sri Lankan adults, conducted in October 2023. The poll has a maximum error margin below ±3% at a 95% confidence interval. This was a part of the Syndicated Surveys instrument by Verité Research and the polling partner was Vanguard Survey (Pvt) Ltd. Verité Research also provides other organisations with the opportunity to survey the sentiments of the people of Sri Lanka through this poll.