Highlighting the poor turnout of heads of Sri Lankan media organizations at today's UNESCO Regional Conference to End Impunity of Crimes against Journalists in Colombo, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe questioned whether the media organizations are really interested in media rights.
The event inaugurated by the Premier was held parallel to the 2017 International Day to End Impunity of Crimes against Journalists with a theme of “Reinforcing regional cooperation to promote freedom of expression and the rule of law in Asia through ending impunity for crimes against Journalists”.
The event was organised by the UNESCO and the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media.
“Now when you look at this audience, in a country where there have been impunity for crimes against journalists, where you expect a high attendance of all heads of media organizations, there are only two heads of organizations here. They are the people who should be fighting and saying there should be no impunity for crimes against journalists. They should be attacking us and saying we are not looking into the cases and have not prosecuted the offenders. Why aren’t they here today? Why only politicians and civil society are here? It is because some of them did not stand up or fight for the rights of journalists,” Wickremesinghe said.
He further added that some heads of media organizations who didn’t attend the event yesterday were more interested in keeping the Rajapaksa regime going and even today they would do anything to topple the current government with the purpose of bringing the Rajapaksa regime back, ensuring they make profits.
He claimed that Sri Lanka was a peculiar country where the government has ensured to end impunity for crimes against journalists, while the editors and owners of media organizations want the Rajapaksa regime back so that there will be impunity for crimes against journalists.
Meanwhile, the Premier said no one questioned him on what happened with the murder of the Former Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickremetunga.
“This is the truth. We are making an effort to protect journalists. Do the heads of media organizations make such effort? Previously they used to do business with the blessings of Rajapaksa regime. Now they attack me because we have ensured freedom of expression and democracy. It is apparent that they are fed up with democracy and they want their old business back on track,” he said.
He vowed to end impunity for crimes against journalists and expedite investigations into the killings and disappearances of journalists.
“Crime against the media is a crime against democracy. As a promise to the media, we will investigate and bring to justice those who have ended the lives of our journalists. I would like to send a very clear message that this government will protect journalists by all measures and I hope this commitment is sufficient to get the heads of media organizations and editors bring all together with us to carry on a fight for the rights of journalists,” he said.
Recalling that many journalists were attacked, murdered, and harassed during the previous regime, he said after the establishment of the current government, there is no place for such crimes in today’s democracy.
“I am proud to say that we have achieved great global recognition for the steps we have taken in only two years. We will continue to strengthen the democracy in Sri Lanka and we will ensure the UN Plan of Actions on Safety smooth implementation," he added. (Piyumi Fonseka)
raj Monday, 4 December 2017 23:32
I totally agree with the PM. Today most of the press is working on behalf of MR. Probably they are well paid by the Rajapakses. Press freedom is there today thanks to MS. The press still think only Rajapakses family can rule the country. Press forgot about what happened to Lasantha and many other journalists.
Reply : 17 47
Pramod Fernando Tuesday, 5 December 2017 14:19
If MR is still this powerful then what's the point you ruling the country?
Reply : 1 6
Rasheed Tuesday, 5 December 2017 11:04
This is what happened when you give more freedom for the press.
Reply : 2 6
shanthapriya Tuesday, 5 December 2017 11:12
We plead to media personnel pls make our PM always happy. Also praise him as much as possible. Then only we also happy.See how much he is worried. very bad of you .dont you understand this. Even after 17 years struggling he does not have a sigh of relief. Not only that So much tired of selling countries assets also
Reply : 5 6
Jey R Tuesday, 5 December 2017 11:21
Hon PM / terminate a couple of TV channel licence - technically they are not breaking news they are making news for money!!! v.dangerous for the society.. few organizations are systematically misleading general public for profits like North Korea.
Reply : 3 4
Sunil Tuesday, 5 December 2017 12:22
The press is doing a great job revealing all the dirty deals of Yahapalanaya, of which the classic example is the bond scam. These dirty politicians should be chased out and the forthcoming local government elections would be the starting point.
Reply : 10 5
chari Tuesday, 5 December 2017 13:28
Hon. P.M, why be afraid... when you are clean...fear no man.
Reply : 1 4
stardust Tuesday, 5 December 2017 13:36
Raj I agree with you. via DM Android App
Reply : 1 1
Citizen Tuesday, 5 December 2017 20:02
They don't want to hear you talking nonsense
Reply : 0 1
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