There was Media Freedom during Yahapalana government: Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya

9 July 2020 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • Today many media personnel are afraid to express their views and even some media institutions work on a narrow agenda that gives rise to ethnic divisions

By Nishantha Hewage   

There was enough room for citizens to express political views over State Media during the Yahapalana government, said Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya addressing a gathering at the launching ceremony of “Freedom, people’s collective” held yesterday (8) at New Town Hall, Colombo.   

“People could participate in political discussions and even news related to press conferences was broadcast over TV channels,” he said. “Now the situation regarding media freedom is different from what prevailed during the Yahapalana government. What the citizens enjoyed then were shattered at once. “Today many media personnel are afraid to express their views and even some media institutions work on a narrow agenda that gives rise to ethnic divisions. “In 2015 we realized that the country was heading for authoritarianism,” Prof. Wijesooriya opined. He noted that with the leadership of Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, many engaged in a noble cause of establishing freedom, justice and democracy in the country. Explaining the positive outcomes of the 19th Amendment he said: “The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was a clear attempt to establish a state based on democratic rule. “The power to even appoint persons to the judiciary was limited by this amendment.

Even the top appointments could not be made according to the President’s wishes. Thus the powers vested in the Executive President were limited. We were able to get involved in a process of political reform that was necessary for a democratic rule. But there was lack of leadership to strengthen this process,” Prof. Wijesooriya added.

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