Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Ministry Secretary Nimal Bopage in a media release today said that there were reports of some media organisations and journalists engaging in what he called ‘illegal and unethical use’ of media to promote a section of the MPs belonging to one main Governing party, who call themselves the ‘Joint Opposition’.
He warned the journalists that such misuse could make them legally liable.
“The Government and the Opposition of current Parliament had been clearly characterised today. In this scenario, I have received reports that some media institutions and journalists are promoting a collective called ‘Joint Opposition’ created by several MPs without the input of neither the Opposition Leader nor the Chief Opposition Whip.
“Reports say the Joint Opposition is engaged in an organised political propaganda and some media aiding the promotion of it without any consideration,” Mr. Bopage said in the media release.
He said even the Speaker had pointed out the fault in the concept of Joint Opposition and said the professional integrity of the experienced, reputed and mature journalists, would be severely damaged by such media exploitation.
“Misuse of media in this manner sets bad and illegal precedent and journalists could be legally liable. Various persons would attempt to accomplish their narrow gains through misuse of media in the future. Therefore, I request journalists to follow their conscience to put an end to media misuse and to preserve thriving media freedom,” he said.
Mr. Bopage went on to note that the Good Governance Government was able to improve media freedom within a short span of time.
“This was evident by the latest international index on media freedom as the country’s rank was improved by 24 notches only within a year,” he said.
Several attempts to contact Secretary Mr. Bopage by the Daily Mirror for clarification failed. (Lahiru Pothmulla)