Although much was expected from the much publicized twitter Q and A with President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday, in his first foray into the realm of direct engagement via digital media, the session proved to be a damper to many, with the President answering questions that were only related the UN sessions and issues therein.
The session which was scheduled to start at 6.30 pm but commenced 90 minutes later saw many enthusiastic locals, foreigners, foreign and local media personnel posing questions that were both controversial in nature and otherwise.
There was no initial boundary to the questions that were to be posed; however, the twitter feed of the President requested the followers to confine their questions to the current United Nations session.
Thereafter, presidential secretary Lalith Weerathunge informed the followers that he would be moderating the session, but did not answer a question posed on his role at the twitter session with no clear indication given as to who was answering the questions posed.
To a question posed on Press Freedom which read, “You are called a ‘Predator of press freedom’, with all unsolved murders on SL journalists, is the ideal freedom from the press?” the President answered “Have you ever read Sunday newspapers in SL? There are more than 25 TV channels which are privately owned,” underscoring the entire session which lacked direct answers.
When questioned as to whether the President believes his other ministers should take to social media, the President replied in the affirmative, asking the questioner, “why not? I also do this because I can reach many people”
In his first actual engagement which however, was not confirmed despite repeated requests, the session, which lasted for just over an hour ended, at 9.10 pm local time, with The President’s secretary Lalith Weerathunge stating that the President had to leave for a meeting after apologizing to the followers for ‘technical mishaps’.
“This is the first time we are doing this. There may have been technical lapses. Lalith Weeratunga” the tweet said.
The President who has met the UN Secretary General on Wednesday tweeted “I discussed the NPC elections with UNSG. He was happy. As promised, it was held in September.”
He also said, Sri Lanka is trying to expand its external relations with Latin America as done with Africa
A question was asked whether there is adequate cyber crime laws to prevent racism, separatism and potential threats to national security conducted via the cyber space.
In response, Rajapaksa said, “Already we have enough laws to deal with cyber crime. We watch the situation closely”.
President Rajapaksa also said that Sri Lanka is ready to work with the UN system, as it has done in the past.
Rajapaksa also tweeted that his government will continue to maintain strong bilateral relationship with Iran, under the newly elected President of that country. (Hafeel Farisz)