Sri Lanka’s national media center issued a statement that actions will be taken against those who spread “fake news and false propaganda” regarding the situation in the island following last Sunday’s suicide bomber attacks.
According to the Sri Lankan government, a number of incidents of public disturbances have been reported in several parts of the country due to the circulation of false information.
The police and security forces have taken measures to take strict legal action against persons circulating such false information through websites, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other social media sources, the government said.
“The circulation of such false information creates disturbance and panic among the general public and also misleads the security forces. Therefore, the public is requested to refrain from involving in such activities,” the statement in part read.
Action will be taken against persons involved in circulating false information under the Emergency Regulations and anyone who is found guilty of committing such offenses may be imprisoned from 3 to 5 years, according to the government.
Previously, the Sri Lanka Police advised the general public not to panic as security forces are conducting search operations across the country. The public was requested to cooperate with security forces personnel carrying out the searches, a police spokesman said.
Sri Lankan police have continued their search for explosives five days after the suicide bombing attacks on Easter Sunday at three churches and three hotels killed more than 350 people and wounded 500 more in and around Colombo.
Sri Lanka Police has said around 60 suspects have been detained since the bombings.
Relatedly, Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena said Friday that he has fullest confidence that the law and order machinery has all the required capabilities to meet the challenge of terrorism and bring back peace and normalcy very soon.
Addressing heads of media at the President’s House in Colombo, Sirisena detailed the short term and long term measures to curb terrorism and bring back normalcy.
“Major search operation has been undertaken. Every household in the country will be checked. The lists of permanent residents of every house will be established to ensure no unknown persons could live anywhere,” he said and pointed out that during the fight against LTTE terrorism, similar methods were adapted.