March 7, 2018 / 8:33 AM / 3 months ago

Sri Lanka blocks social media networks to stop sectarian violence

COLOMBO, March 7 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) will block social media networks such as Facebook Inc. Viber and Whatsapp across the country for three days to prevent the spread of communal violence, officials said on Wednesday.

The government imposed a state of emergency in the island after Buddhist mobs attacked mosques and businesses belonging to minority Muslims in the central highlands district incensed over an altercation over the weekend.

Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne told reporters that government has asked service providers to block social messaging networks after posts appeared on Facebook calling for attacks on Muslims.

"The director general (of TRC) will inform all the subscribers about blocking Facebook, Viber, and Whatsapp for 72 hours," a TRC official said.

Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani

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