Written by Staff Writer
06 Jun, 2019 | 9:14 pm
Colombo (News 1st): The cabinet of ministers had decided to amend the penal code to criminalize the publication of false news that affects co-existence among communities and endangers national security. This decision was the subject of discussion at a number of events today (June 6).
UPFA MP S.B. Dissanayake said all of a sudden a cabinet paper on controlling the freedom of the press was submitted to the Cabinet yesterday (June 5) and they have not been able to look into this properly yet. However, he said even during the formulation of the 19th constitutional amendment, Ranil Wickremesinghe tried to slip in certain provisions to curb the freedom of media and the president together with all of them did not allow that to happen.
He went onto note that after they attempted to bring in the counter-terrorism act which includes many provisions that will restrict the entry of media personnel to certain places, will prevent the media or even taking photographs at certain locations, and restrict the ability of a journalist to obtain certain information and publish them. He added that although President Maithripala Sirisena dreamed of a free country, a country free of terror, a country free of fraud and corruption, and a country with the freedom of the press, Prime Ranil Wickremesinghe wanted to corner the trade unions, restrict the media and do what he wants. He said the Prime Minister wanted Sri Lanka to continue to function as a colony of America and Europe.
Adding to this UPFA MP Dilan Perera noted that as usual, since an election is coming up now they are going after the media. He noted that when he was the leader of the opposition he threatened journalist, and now when he is the prime minister he is threatening journalists, not once, twice or thrice but many times he has threatened journalists.
He added that the Prime Minister is trying to stop the media from reporting the truth to the general public. He went onto note that they sternly request the president who is the only member of the cabinet who is against the UNP to prevent this cabinet paper from getting through.
UPFA MP Padma Udayashantha Gunesekera noted that Ranil Wickremesinghe named certain journalists from newspapers and openly threatened them in parliament. He added, therefore, they can clearly state to the government if they are trying to deprive the country of democracy, if attempts are being made to undemocratically quell the public outcry against the government, and if they are trying to rid to country of true journalism and suppress the media, they cannot stop the people from rallying against it.
Meanwhile, Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka stressed on the need to impose strict rules and regulations to regulate the media at a media briefing held in Kandy today.
“Some media institutions in this country cannot write on the good things that happen. The pen does not move, the camera does not see and the microphone does not turn towards these. They always want to report on what is bad. If we are to move forward as a country we need to impose strict laws to govern discipline on these issues. Certain rules and regulations governing media were changed, in the hope that the media will act responsibly, but we see that certain media personnel do not act with such responsibility. Certain owners of media institutions do not have this responsibility. So we will have to act against these for the benefit of the general public. So I request every to act responsibly.”
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