Media groups slam Health Ministry official over “3rd class” comments

Media rights groups have slammed a top Health Ministry official over his “3rd class” comments.

Director of the Disaster Preparedness and Response Division at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Hemantha Herath was caught on camera telling reporters after a media conference that some journalists killed in the past were “3rd class” journalists.

His comments drew strong reactions on social media, including from Ahimsa Wickrematunge, daughter of slain journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge.

“There is no excuse to kill a journalist. There is no excuse to kill anyone. These remarks are further evidence that the @GotabayaR regime celebrates the murders of those like my father. Dr Hemantha Herath must be removed,” she tweeted.

Media rights groups noted that Dr. Hemantha Herath seemed to have been angered over repeated questions asked from him at a media briefing held recently.

Following the media briefing Dr. Hemantha Herath is seen telling a reporter that journalists should not resort to third class behaviour.

He goes on to say that some journalists killed in the past were also third class journalists.

The media rights groups demanded that Dr. Hemantha Herath tender an apology over his comments.

The demand for an apology was made by the Free Media Movement, Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions, Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum, Sri Lanka Tamil Journalists Association, and the Young Journalists Association. (Colombo Gazette)

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