FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SRI LANKA

For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

Dispute but not insult – Minister Keheliya Rambukwella

The new media minister, Keheliya Rambukwella, has urged media to disagree with any point of view but not insult opposing points of view.

Speaking to journalists after assuming the new office, the minister said everybody has the right to disagree and disbelieve.

“We have the right to dispute; we have the right to disagree. We have the right to disbelieve but none of us have the right to insult each other,” he said.

If a change in the “media culture” is needed, the minister said, it is the duty of the media to make the change.

“We cannot rule media by punishment and pressure,” he said.

The former defence affairs spokesman during the height of the conflict with the Tamil Tigers was appointed as the new minister in charge of media and information by President Rajapaksa.

SB Dissanayake, Arumugam Thondaman and Prof. Tissa Vitharana were also appointed as new cabinet ministers in addition to the 37 ministers appointed earlier.

Controversial minister Mervyn Silva was earlier appointed as the deputy minister in charge of media. He was later appointed as the deputy minister of highways.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sinhala/news/story/2010/05/100507_keheliya_media.shtml

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