Karu Jayasuriya, lightning strikes and media freedom

Karu Jayasuriya, lightning strikes and media freedom

Written by Bella Dalima

12 Dec, 2013 | 10:31 am

UNP Parliamentarian Karu Jayasuriya says that certain media institutions in the country are vindictively attacking individuals who do not agree with them instead of carrying out their responsibilities.

He made this statement in Parliament.

“Unfortunately, today in this country, certain media institutions, instead of carrying out the responsibility vested in them are leveling vindictive and low blows to dissenters who do not agree with them and are working to assassinate their characters and bring them to disrepute. As a result the real problems facing the people of this country such as the lack of democracy and good governance, the inability to live, the collapse in the rule of law, corruption and other important matters are being brushed aside. Whether it is the government or the opposition where there is wrong the media should point it out. We strongly hold this opinion. But today it has become the culture of certain newspapers to sling mud at targeted individuals.”

These are some of the statements he has made regarding the media previously.

UNP Parliamentarian, Karu Jayasuriya made this statement on 06.01.2009.

“In a civilised society where democracy reigns supreme, the media must be respected. We always hope for good governance and a free media in this country, that is how we an sustain democracy in the country.”

On  April, 18 MP Karu Jayasuriya requested that an impartial investigation be held into threats that have been levelled at journalists.

The statement containing this request was published on Karu Jayasuriya’s website the same day.

Furthermore, at a media briefing held on May 17 this year, Karu Jayasuriya made the following statement.

“The oppressive actions of the government have come to light. It is not possible to express alternative views against the government. The government is acting in the belief that the people have given them a permanent mandate.”

He made this statement on March 22, 2010

“If a newspaper or media network is unable to tell the truth or is unable to provide balanced news, then we cannot think of such a country as democratic.”

Karu Jayasuriya expressed these views on July 30, .2010

“When a media institution is attacked or when attempts are made to oppress the media, we have always spoken against it. Whether we are in the opposition or the government we must protect the media. The media is necessary for a democratic country. Even if it is to reprimand us, we need the media.”

The report that Karu Jayasuriya was referring to appeared on the Mawbima newspaper on  November 25

The Editor of the Mawbima newspaper questions as to how it could be a falsification or distortion if it is in fact true that lightning struck at the meeting that was attended by Karu Jayasuriya.

MP Karu Jayasuriya who spoke thus of the role and importance of the media in a democratic society, made these remarks in Parliament, regarding the Mawbima newspaper.

“……and today they engaged in shameless misuse of the media. Its sister newspaper Ceylon Today, also functions parallel to this. Bless the Mawbima newspaper, because I saw some headlines in recent days which I havenever seen in any country in the world. For the first time in history that I know of, the headline read in large print, that lightning had struck a politician’s meeting.”

“It is difficult for me to understand with what mindset this newspaper published this headline. No matter which way you look at it honourable Deputy Chair it is completely in violation of media ethics.”

The report that Karu Jayasuriya was referring to appeared on the Mawbima newspaper on November 25.

The Editor of the Mawbima newspaper questions as to how it could be a falsification or distortion if it is in fact true that lightning struck at the meeting that was attended by Karu Jayasuriya.

Politicians from both government and opposition ranks had this to say regarding the statement made by MP Karu Jayasuriya on the media.

Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa expressed these views;

I was amazed after listening to the speech made by Karu Jayasuriya of the United National Party. I was wondering if it was a confession or whether it was a statement being made from our side. The UNP which often make speeches about media freedom, has had bad experiences in its time and in the past. If you are appointed to government in the future, I have a suspicion as to whether, Karu Jayasuriya will give even an inch of media freedom to society.

If you look at the newspapers in the country today, it is evident that there was a time when the newspapers were far more critical. I know that whether we look at newspaper in the past, newspapers

in the present or if we are alive to witness newspapers in the future, criticism is not something that we can stop. We call this the freedom of the media. No matter how much it hurts us or how much we feel it or how much we are disappointed by it, we need not be troubled by it. Remember, that the leader of the leadership council has presented the vision of the United National Party.”

JVP Politburo Member K.D. Lalkantha said:

“Even we who are in the opposition are saying that there isn’t a strong opposition. Everyone is saying that there isn’t a strong opposition. Who is it that destroyed a strong opposition? People like Karu Jayasuriya and Wimal Weerawansa also supported the weakening of the functions of the opposition. Karu Jayasuriya is major shareholder in this. He went over to strengthen the hands with half of the opposition. Now there is too much power there, two thirds of Parliament.”

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