COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s government will introduce laws to curb hate speech and false news that threaten ethnic reconciliation and national security, in the aftermath of Easter bombings that killed more than 250 people.
According to a government statement, the Cabinet decided to amend the penal code to include the penalty of five years in prison and a million rupee ($5,670) fine for those found guilty of distributing false news.
The ministers, at their weekly meeting on Tuesday, also decided to take legal action against hate speech. A penalty will be announced later, after Parliament approves amendments to the penal code.
Tensions have been running high in the Buddhist-majority Indian Ocean island nation since seven suicide bombers struck two Catholic and one Protestant church and three luxury hotels on April 21.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were carried out by a local radicalized Muslim group known as National Thowheed Jammath.