For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
In an inaugural press briefing that could only be termed ‘amusing’, the new Deputy Media Minister Mervyn Silva revealed that upon accepting the portfolio he and his wife had decided to sleep in separate rooms so that he will be available to serve the media at anytime of the day.
In Sri Lanka, there is a lull of sorts in outright attacks on the media as the Rajapaksa government takes stock of where it stands, which is in a very strong position: Last May the government declared a final victory in the brutal 30-year conflict with Tamil secessionists.
Sri Lanka’s frosty relations with the West over human rights abuses will continue under a new cabinet appointed last week and perhaps jeopardise long-term trade and investment interests, analysts say.
Discipline within the media is vital. Acting Media Minister Mervyn Silva is of the view that a proud nation can be built only through a disciplined media.
The missing journalist Prageeth Ekniligoa of Lanka E-News since January 24 is being held under unlawful custody or detention with the knowledge of police officers, stated in a Habeas Corpus application filed by his wife Mrs. K.M.S.P.Ekniligoda and his two children S.S.Bandara Ekniligoda and H.D.Sooriya Ekniligoda in the Court of Appeal.
A petition has been filed in Court seeking the “release” of missing freelance journalist and cartoonist of Lanka E-News Prageeth Ekniligoda. The Petitioners cited DIG Nandana Manasinghe of the CID, OIC of the Homagama Police, IGP Mahinda Balasooriya and the Attorney General as respondents.
Hundreds of people and media persons paid their last respects to the remains of Selvaratnam Roopan also known as ‘Sakthi Thasan’ and the sub-editor of Yarl Thinakural who passed away Sunday evening at Jaffna Teaching hospital at the age of thirty-two.
The government’s crowing that they are the best champions of human rights has been proved another election gimmick only.
“In what country do you appoint an arsonist to put out fires?” Reporters Without Borders asked today after learning that Mervyn Silva, a politician notorious for insulting and physically attacking journalists, has been appointed deputy minister of media and information. Labour minister in the last government, Silva was confirmed in his new post by parliament on 23 April.
There are other messages implicit in this week’s parceling out of ministries which have quite negative implications for the private as well as the state media in this country
Malwathu Mahanayake thero welcomed the ambassador and said that he hoped the visit will encourage the European Union to reinstate the GSP+ tax relief on Srilankan exports to European Union.
Deputy Minister of Media Mervyn Silva has implemented law to the letter by banning smoking in enclosed public places in Kelaniya since last week. Sources close to him say if anyone is caught smoking in public, he would be meted out ‘severe punishment’.
Controversial Member of Parliament Mervyn Silva who was well know for his anti media stunts including the forceful entry into the state owned Rupavahini was sworn in today as the Deputy Media Minister before President Mahinda Rajapakse.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), in its 2010 Impunity Index, ranks Sri Lanka number four among countries around the world where journalists have been murdered on a regular basis without the killers being prosecuted.
Paris-based Sri Lankan director Pradeepan Raveendran’s film ‘Shadows of Silence’, listed as a French entry, will be presented in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival May 12-23.
Member of Parliament General Sarath Fonseka said there was an attempt to slap a media censorship on his attendance in parliament today and he will raise this issue at the next parliament session.
A Daily Mirror online team in Kandy to cover the General Elections repoll were followed and video taped by a provincial journalist on the instructions of the Nawalapitiya police, according to him, and even threatened the media team from Colombo.
The Buddhist convert to Islam, Sara, alias Malani Perera who had written two books about her conversion from Buddhism to Islam and was in detention on the orders of the Defence Secretary from March 19 was released today on bail of Rs 5000 cash with two sureties for Rs 50,000 each by the Colombo Additional Magistrate Mrs. Praharsha S. Ranasinghe
Sri Lanka’s first post-war parliament must get rid of draconian emergency laws that have allowed for decades of widespread human rights abuses, international human rights defenders, Amnesty International said.