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Fake news on social media hampering country's good name, development ; President Mythri

President Maithripala Sirisena addressing the Sri Lankans living in the United Kingdom said that attempts taken to bury the truth and to spread fake news are a hindrance to the development and success of the country.
The President also invited the Sri Lankan community living in London to assist the journey of building the country with a proper understanding of the real situation in the country.
He made these remarks addressing a meeting held with the Sri Lankan community living in London, on Tuesday (17). President Sirisena is attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London.
He said that even though Sri Lankans living in other countries receive all the information about the country, he said that he doubts whether all information they receive are true and correct.
The President further explained that the real information on the propaganda followed by the government to develop the country by establishing freedom and democracy are not delivered to the people effectively.
“I met many groups of Sri Lankans living in the UK. One thing that I realised after having discussions with them was that they receive a lot of fake news and information. I understood the amount of false propaganda that is being fed to you on social media and 75 percent of the information is false”, he said.
President Sirisena pointed out that during the recent communal unrest in Kandy, more than the truth, rumours spread fast and added that the measures taken by the government to control the situation were hardly reported.
“You might be talking to your relatives every day. But I see that fake news is being spread rapidly to the Sri Lankan communities living abroad. And they are not aware of the measures taken by the government for the well-being of the people”, he said.
The President said that new technology and social media were introduced to ensure continuity of a healthy society but it is being misused by people not only in Sri Lanka but in the whole world.
He said that even United States of America faces issues related to spread of false information on social media.
“Following the Digana incidents, I ordered a State of Emergency, army was deployed and social media was blocked and the government took immediate measures to bring the situation under control. Some of the Ambassadors had a problem with the decisions we made and they exceeded their limits and criticized our actions. We were not afraid, we took every necessary action that was needed and as a nation we were able to prevent a great calamity”, he said.
President Sirisena further said that an organisation affiliated to the United Nations commended Sri Lanka for blocking social media during the crisis and another organisation said that if Myanmar had done the same when the first incident occurred, it could have prevented the calamities that followed there.
“All the international organisations appreciated the measures taken by the government.People wrote to me and appreciated what I did and some parents even requested to ban all social media if possible”, he said.The President said that political issues are common in every country and cannot just limit it to Sri Lanka.
“I heard people complaining about the prevailing political issues in the government. Political turmoil is common in every country from Britain to Japan.Every country has its own political and economic issues”, he said.
The President said that as a responsible government they have taken all the necessary initiatives to ensure co-existence among the communities, to build peace and to ensure non recurrence of war.
He said that there are many positive consequences as a result of the measures taken by the government in the past three years and added that those results do not reach the people effectively.
The resident said that some print and electronic media misuse democratic rights and spread false news and further stated that they have not truly understood the value of the freedom given to everybody by the present government.
“In 2015 and 2016, our focus was to strengthen our international relations. Now, all the countries treat Sri Lanka as their friends. Europe, USA, UK, India, Russia, Japan and middle-east countries are friends with us. Sri Lanka never maintained a very well relationship with all the countries as now, after the independence”, he said.
He said that the government made economic plans in order to develop and strengthen the country’s economy.

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