Manusha criticizes government of thwarting media freedom

Manusha criticizes government of thwarting media freedom

Manusha criticizes government of thwarting media freedom

Written by Staff Writer

25 Nov, 2020 | 10:57 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): Opposition parliamentarian Manusha Nanayakkara has accused the government of cracking the whip on media outlets that are critical of their administration.

“Journalists have been barred from covering parliamentary sittings from the legislature,” Nanayakkara said during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday.

He claimed that the government has halted investigations into the crimes committed against journalists under the administration of the then president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“The Rajapaksa government was never willing to probe the murders of journalists,” he recalled.

Nanayakkara accused the government of attempting to indirectly threaten media institutions, citing a circular issued by the president’s secretary on preventing state advertisements from being given to the media.

“We wish to clearly state that the government is trying to implement these laws as part of a witch-hunt against media institutions that they don’t like,” he said.

However, mass media minister Keheliya Rambukwella denied such claims and said that the government will work towards protecting and uplifting media outlets.

“We hope to establish 25 media schools in the country. We embarked on this initiative in the North and will implement the project in other parts of the country during the coming years,” he stressed.

He pointed out that it was current Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration offered laptops for journalists and financial grants for higher education purposes between 2010 and 2015.

Professor Charitha Herath, another government parliamentarian accused the previous government of neglecting state media institutions, to the extent up to which they had occurred massive losses.

“All governments have acted in a favourable and unfavourable manner towards the media. We must admit that,” he said.

Ranjan Ramanayake, a Samagi Jana Balawegaya parliamentarian lamented over what he said was the sad state of the media in the country.

“…it is the punters, drug racketeers, and gamblers who are disseminating news to the people,” he remarked

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