Government insists no move to suppress media

The Government today (1) insisted that there was no move to suppress the media.

Minister of Mass Media Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters today that the Press Council Act was created in the 1970s and does not suit the current media developments in the country.

He pointed out that at present there are various types of media platforms, including social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

“At the time when the Press Council Act was created, these media platforms were not in existence,” he explained.

Minister Rambukwella said there are assumptions that the Government is attempting to control the media due to the news reports carried in certain media.

The Minister clarified that there are no such attempts, and there will be no such move, and assured that as the Mass Media Minister, he will not agree to such a proposal.

However, he pointed out that as the Mass Media Minister, it was his responsibility to provide as much support to those involved in the media field as possible.

He also stated that it is his responsibility to protect the fundamental rights of the population of 21 million in the country, simultaneously.

Minister Rambukwella said steps must be taken to hold the media accountabile for articles on certain matters that are published on the front page on certain matters, and for them to later issue clarifications on the back page as corrections.

He said this practice has affected many people, including children, and a system must be put in place to hold accountable such news publications.

“This cannot be deemed as freedom of expression,” the Minister said.

Minister Rambukwella said if the media outlets do not comply with ethics, then the Government has no choice but to legally enforce it.

Therefore, this system cannot be deemed as a controlling factor, but rather a way to protect the rights of the public, and if someone is opposing this, then it is unfair, he said.

The Minister of Mass Media further said the Government has called for an inclusive dialogue on the formulation of a new system to monitor media in Sri Lanka, and will obtain the views of all the people.

Minister Rambukwella said the views that most suit the current media developments, and protect the rights of the people and the journalists, will be considered for the new system. (Colombo Gazette)