Addressing the Maldives Parliament today as part of his official visit to the South Asian archipelago, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe pledged Sri Lanka’s fullest cooperation in its fight against global warming.
“Today, climate change is an impending threat to all of us. We are cognizant of the particular vulnerability of the Maldives to rising sea levels and the very real danger of your islands coming underwater. Let me reassure you that we stand ready to support you fully in your fight against rising sea levels and global warming,” he said.
The Sri Lankan Prime Minister also called for bilateral cooperation in overcoming other common threats faced by the two neighbouring countries.
“Sri Lanka and the Maldives are two neutral nations situated at the crossroads of the Indian Ocean – faced with rising regional tensions, terrorism, piracy and drug trafficking. Therefore, we must strengthen our bilateral dialogue in this sphere and seek ways to cooperate in containing and overcoming these threats,” he said.
Commenting on new challenges confronting the region, Wickremesinghe called for a balance between the democratisation of news and journalism on the internet and user obligations prevent harm. The abuse of the democratic space through hate speech and fake news, he told the People’s Majlis, is among the new dangers faced by all nations.
“Social media is like a god of ancient times: Both creator and destroyer: It has the ability to spread the message of freedom as well as to rouse passions and emotions that lead to its destruction. It is the dilemma of cyberspace and democracy – the frightening ability to create a thousand Hitlers setting fire to a thousand Reichstags,” he said.
“Finding a balance between the democratisation of news and the legal obligations of the user to prevent harm is the complex question that which we, you and many countries, have to grapple with. The final solution will require an educated public, aware of their freedoms and the threats that are posed by the net and the web,” he added.