Written by Keshala Dias
07 Jul, 2017 | 9:21 pm
Several cabinet ministers confirmed today, that they are unaware of a document that has provisions to penalise journalists.
The document which has been titled ‘The Independent Council for News Media Standards Act’ has provisions to compile laws to penalise journalists for reporting.
The news media, according to the document, is bound to reveal any source before the Council that is proposed.
A lawyer or a retired judge is to head this proposed council.
Speaking on the matter Minister Navin Dissanayake said: “No. I am not aware of this. I do not think this will happen. The government has no hope to create barriers for the media”.
Minister Sajith Premadasa: “State clearly with responsibility, we will not attempt to suppress the media under any circumstance. We have no idea to do so either. If there is, we will not support it”.
Minister Mahinda Amaraweera: “There are no steps to bring about such an Act for now. There have been no discussions in this regard. Everything that is spoken of will not be true”.
Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa: “Remember, the most important part is the freedom of the journalist. The right to express, to depict and to write. No one will try to hinder that”.
The Director General of Government Information Dr. Ranga Kalansuriya, addressing the media on July 05 said the Chairman of Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, Lasantha Ruhunage attended a meeting regarding this document and that he walked away later.
Lasantha Ruhunage says he had not attended any meeting regarding the regulation of media.
Ruhunage says he was invited for a discussion in July 2016 and as another fake association that uses the name of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, was invited for the discussion which Ruhunuge had walked off from.
He says he is unaware of what was discussed during the meeting after he left.
Issuing a release Ruhunage says, if the Director General of Information says that the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association was represented at these discussions, that is a baseless lie of the Director General who is acting according to the hidden agendas of his political bosses.
The Chairman of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, Lasantha Ruhunage further states that is it now a question whether his Association will attend the future discussions that the Director General of Government Information convenes in the future.
Meanwhile British – Canadian National Toby Mendel who is an Executive Director of a NGO involved in the process behind this document explained his involvement. (Please watch video)
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