LD [2008-06-05 7.30pm] The United National Party’s newly-appointed spokesman for free media Dayasiri Jayasekara has claimed that the government was preparing to introduce laws to curb the media.
As a party and as persons who want a free media culture, we condemn this move, he told the media today (June 05th).
Commenting on the naming of certain media institutions by the Ministry of Defence as traitors, Mr. Jayasekara said that this would be challenged in the Supreme Court very soon.
“This indicates that the present regime is moving towards
authoritarianism. It should be made clear that every government that laid its hands on the media and attacked protests was swept away by the people of this country,” he said.
Democracy, human rights and media freedom are unimportant for this war-mongering government, the UNP free media spokesman alleged.
The war is now being waged solely for the purpose of continuation of the present regime that is acting in an enraged manner, Mr. Jayasekara said, adding that all should unite and face this challenge.
Speaking further, he noted that the war is being funded not by Mahinda or Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, but by the poor, innocent people of the country.
Therefore, they have the right to know the true situation.
To ensure the continuation of this government, the Ministry of Defence has today become the supervisor of the state media, Mr. Jayasekara charged.
It is upto the Ministry of Media to take policy decisions on the media, and not the Ministry of Defence, he noted, recalling that Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa had highlighted the right of journalists to organize themselves and express their free ideas in a democratic society.
The Ministry of Defence had accused and named several media institutions, with a decision being made to investigate and act against ‘Lanka Dissent’ and ‘Lankaenews’ websites, he said.
‘Tamilnet’ has been blocked, which is a denial of the people’s right to information and the right to free expression, according to him.
He called upon every journalist and every citizen to set aside political, institutional and other differences and come forward against this media repression.