France, New Zealand to launch a call to end online ‘extremism’… Sri Lanka blocks social media after riots… Vietnam intensifies crackdown on online dissent…

France, New Zealand to launch a call to end online extremism

PARIS (AP) — The leaders of France and New Zealand will make a joint push to eliminate acts of violent extremism from being shown online, in a meeting with tech leaders in Paris on Wednesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will launch the “Christchurch call” —named after the New Zealand city where 51 people were killed in a March 15 attack on mosques.

Sri Lanka blocks social media after anti-Muslim riots

Sri Lanka blocked access to Facebook and WhatsApp on Monday after a posting sparked anti-Muslim riots across several towns in the latest fallout from the Easter Sunday suicide attacks.

Christian groups attacked Muslim-owned shops in the northwestern town of Chilaw on Sunday in anger at a Facebook post by a shopkeeper, police said.

Security forces fired in the air to disperse mobs, but the violence spread to nearby towns where Muslim businesses were also attacked.

Sri Lanka has been on edge since the April 21 attacks by jihadist suicide bombers on three hotels and three churches which left 258 dead.

Police said a night curfew in Chilaw and nearby areas was relaxed Monday, but the social media ban was brought in to prevent incitement to violence.

“Don’t laugh more, 1 day u will cry,” was posted on Facebook by a Muslim shopkeeper, and local Christians took it to be a warning of an impending attack.

Mobs smashed the man’s shop and vandalised a nearby mosque prompting security forces to fire in the air to disperse the crowd. A curfew was imposed from Sunday afternoon until dawn Monday.

The main body of Islamic clerics, the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), said there was increased suspicion of Muslims after the Easter attacks carried out by local jihadists.

Vietnam intensifies crackdown on online dissent: Amnesty report

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam has stepped up its imprisonment of political activists, Amnesty International said in a report on Monday, intensifying a crackdown that has seen the number of prisoners of conscience increase by almost a third since last year.

Nearly 10% of the 128 prisoners held in the Southeast Asian country for expressing dissenting views were jailed for posting anti-state comments on social media platforms such as Facebook, the report said.

Amnesty defines prisoners of conscience as people who have not used or advocated violence but have been imprisoned because of their identify or beliefs.

“In the past year, the Vietnamese authorities have made a clear effort to clamp down on social media,” Nguyen Truong Son, Amnesty’s Vietnam Campaigner, told Reuters.

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