Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was exercising his rights to be critical of some media recently.
He told reporters today that in a vibrant democracy there needs to be a constructive debate between the media and the Government.
However he insisted that unlike in the past the Government has not threatened any media or sent “white vans” behind journalists.
He also said that the cancelling of the CSN television broadcasting licence is not an attack on media freedom as the television station was operating on illegally obtained funds.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera defended the decision taken by Sri Lanka recently to abstain from voting on a resolution by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which denounced Israeli violations in and around the al-Haram al-Sharif (also known as the Temple Mount) compound in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds.
He said the decision was taken in principle and was not against Palestine.
Twenty-four countries, including Algeria, Brazil, China, Iran, Russia and South Africa, voted in favor of the UNESCO resolution on Thursday, while the six countries of the United States, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Estonia opposed it, Press TV reported.
A total of 26 countries, including Albania, Argentina, France, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Spain and Sweden abstained from the vote. Serbia and Turkmenistan were absent.
The resolution strongly condemned “the escalating Israeli aggression and illegal measures against… the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their holy site al-Aqsa Mosque/al-Ḥaram al-Sharif,” and called on “Israel, the occupying power, to respect the historic status quo and to immediately stop these measures.”
It also criticized the “continuous storming of Haram al-Sharif by the Israeli right-wing extremists and uniformed forces.” (Colombo Gazette)