Young Political Figures From Key Parties form Collective Front Against Disinformation During Election Period

February 27, 2020

Young Politicians from key political parties in Sri Lanka on 27 February launched Truth Square – A platform to fight political disinformation during the upcoming parliamentary elections. #NewxtGenSL – A collective of young politicians from key political parties along with the support of civil society representatives launched the tri-lingual platform under the theme ‘Trap Disinformation’ and a wider Network Against Disinformation which has secured support of the Election Commission.

Making remarks at the Truth Square, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Urban Councilor, Milinda Rajapakshe and Rasika Jayakody representing the United National Party shed light on the digitization of election-related violence in the form of fake news, misinformation and defamatory content. Meanwhile, Moratuwa Municipal Councilor of the UNP, Lihini Fernando emphasized the need for effective laws to help curb cyber bullying and harassment. Eranga Gunasekera from the Socialist Youth Union of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna affiliated with the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and Hemantha Srilal from the Socialist Democratic Student Union affiliated with the SLPP spoke of the importance of a coordinated multiple stakeholder effort to successfully face the challenges of information violence.

The network led by the Truth Square is due to provide weekly updates on disinformation narratives with the assistance of #Generation and Citizen.lk, to the Election Commission, which will enable the Commission to take appropriate steps to combat the narratives including contacting media heads and political party leaders to correct false narratives.

The public is encouraged to can flag any election-related disinformation they come across by posting under the hashhtag #බොරුඑපා # பொய் வேண்டாம் and #TrapLies which will be crowd-sourced by the voluntary monitors of the network and reported to the Election Commission on a regular basis for corrective action. The Truth Square is the first known initiative of its kind, led by young politicians from key political parties in Asia and civil society as a robust method to counter disinformation narratives during election.

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