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SLPI and Media Organizations Raise Concerns Regarding the Proposed Personal Data Protection Bill

The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI), its constituents and affiliated organizations raise concerns over the Personal Data Protection Bill that was tabled in the Parliament on the 20th of January 2022.

A joint letter raising 7key concerns was signed by the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka (NSSL), Free Media Movement (FMM), Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA), Tamil Media Alliance (TMA), Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMMF), Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Unions (FMETU), South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) and the SLPI, handed over to the Minister of Mass Media, Minister of Justice and the Secretary of the Ministry of Information Technology.

While the proposed Personal Data Protection Act is being recognized as an important one in the current context, especially in the digital era, serious thoughts should be given to the implication and infringement to the rights of professional journalism and media freedom.

The terms of definition regarding personal data and special categories of personal data remain arbitrary given that special categories also include data related to offenses, criminal proceedings and convictions which do not recognize the journalistic right to exercise free speech in delivering such information. Therefore, it is imperative that the journalists’ rights prevail and provisions are made to ensure that journalists are able to continue their work in the interest of the public and uphold freedom of expression.

The proposed Act with the powers and stipulated clauses would prevail over every other law in any inconsistency, including the Right to Information (RTI) Law. The organizations feel this could also compromise the access to information that the public and journalists have via the prevailing RTI law.

Given that the Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka (TEGOSL) has provided a detailed report of the concerns on the proposed Personal Data Protection Act, the SLPI and its collective body of media organizations also jointly acknowledge and endorse the concerns raised, and proposed amendments by TEGOSL in regard to this bill to be considered.

2022 ජනවාරි 22 වන දින පර්ලිමේන්තුවට ඉදිරිපත් කරන ලද යෝජිත පෞද්ගලික දත්ත ආරක්ෂණ පනත් කෙටුම්පත පිළිබඳ  ශ්‍රී ලංකා පුවත්පත් ආයතනය සහ මාධ්‍ය සංවිධාන එකතුව සිය අප්‍රසාදය පළ කරයි

முன்மொழியப்பட்ட தனிப்பட்ட தரவு பாதுகாப்பு சட்டவரைபு மற்றும் பேச்சு சுதந்திரம் மற்றும் தகவல் அறியும் உரிமை மீதான அதன் தாக்கங்கள் குறித்து இலங்கை பத்திரிகை ஸ்தாபனம் அக்கறை கொண்டுள்ளது

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