Liệu những meme về chính trị gia khiến người Sri Lanka vào tù?

luật mới về ngôn luận trực tuyến đe dọa tính hài hước chính trị giúp quốc đảo vượt qua giai đoạn khó khăn

In 2022, when the island nation’s economy collapsed (nền kinh tế sụp đổ) and the government announced a QR code system to ration gasoline (xăng), a meme spread online: “Scanning Fuel QR Code Now Makes You Forget Last Three Months.”

And when public anger (dư luận phẫn nộ) forced the strongman president to flee his palace, with protesters venturing inside to fry snacks in his kitchen and jump into his pool, another meme captured the mood upon their departure: “We Are Leaving. The Key Is Under the Flower Pot.”

It is this kind of online expression, which helped fuel (nhiên liệu) the largest citizens’ movement in Sri Lanka in decades, that activists and rights groups fear is now endangered.

The public security minister, Tiran Alles, told Parliament that the legislation would protect against online fraud, the spread of false information and the abuse of women and children. But he also made clear its potential political applications (ứng dụng chính trị tiềm năng), saying it could be used against those who insult members of Parliament on social media.

Sri Lanka is taking a page from other countries in the region that are increasingly policing what people say online, most notoriously (khét tiếng) Bangladesh, where a 2018 law known as the Digital Security Act has led to the imprisonment of activists and opposition leaders.

In rushing through the legislation, Mr. Gunawardena said, the government rejected suggestions from media experts and rights activists who urged an exemption for those engaging in satire and parody.

Historically, satirists have faced trouble, and even exile (lưu đày), in Sri Lanka for targeting the majority Sinhala community or the powerful Buddhist monks. During the decades of the country’s bloody civil war, which ended in 2009, military leaders — particularly Mr. Rajapaksa, who served as defense secretary — were increasingly off limits.

The administrator of a popular anonymously run meme page called NewsCurry, which has about 50,000 followers on social media platforms (nền tảng mạng xã hội), said that such efforts had brought attention to anti-democratic behavior and lies by politicians, helping to make up for a docile news local media. The new law, said the administrator, who asked not to be named for fear of running afoul of the authorities, should be renamed the Safety for Politicians Act.

source: nytimes,

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