Sri Lanka’s third wave of COVID-19 cases began in April 2021. The government introduced measures to contain the spread of the pandemic, which included restricting the rights of freedom of assembly, expression and information. But economic and political instability worsened the situation and people turned to the street to protest from April to August 2021.
The pandemic increased the relevance of social media as a sphere of public discourse. Discussions on the restriction of fundamental freedoms and the state's response to assertions of these freedoms moved online. DRI studied online discourse around the restriction of the rights of assembly, expression and information between April to August 2021. DRI examined 3,508 posts from Facebook pages and groups to explore the social media response to government measures that restricted fundamental freedoms to protect citizens' health amid the COVID-19 crisis. DRI also examined the impact of these restrictions on the fundamental rights of religious minorities.
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