The joint opposition today said it was appalled by the statements made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe threatening editors of newspapers and announcing his intention of naming and shaming other prominent media personnel who have incurred his displeasure.
Professor G.L.Peiris noted that in the case of one Editor of a leading newspaper, the Prime Minister specifically stated that, if the Editor in question does not quit his post, methods would have to be found to get rid of him.
“The language used in these pronouncements, which received the widest exposure, was undignified and intemperate in the extreme. Similar threats were uttered, with remarkable impunity, against the electronic media,” Professor G.L.Peiris said.
He said that it is a matter for the deepest regret that a Government which was elected on a platform of commitment to democratic values and media freedom, is today resorting to intimidation on a scale which has brought about an environment of the most repulsive inhibition which makes it not merely difficult but virtually impossible for conscientious journalists to perform their functions without fear.
“What is truly astonishing in this dismal situation is the deafening silence of Western missions and others who, during the previous government, were quick to make the harshest criticisms on the flimsiest of material,” Professor G.L.Peiris added.
He said the reason for this, regrettably, is that the present Government, as an appendage of these forces, consistently gives priority to carrying forward their agenda, rather than fulfilling the aspirations of the people of Sri Lanka.