For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Friday, 07 May 2010
By Sumaiya Rizvi
Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella who assumed duties at the Ministry today responding to journalists said that Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva cannot decide if he will continue as the Deputy Media Minister and the decision can only be taken by the President.
“My friend Mervyn cannot decide if he is going to continue being my Deputy. That is for the President to decide. We will see in the coming days what happens,” Minister Rambukwella said.
A notable absentee in today morning’s event at the Media Ministry was Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva who claims that he is still the Deputy Media Minister.
Confusion prevailed in the media circles these last two days whether Mervyn Silva continued to hold the post as Deputy Media Minister after he was sworn in as the Deputy of Highways by President Mahinda Rajapakse on Wednesday.
It is learnt that Silva had handed in his resignation to the President on Wednesday morning, the same day that Rambukwella took oaths as the new Media Minister.
President Rajapakse had accepted his resignation.
The President’s office, when contacted by Daily Mirror online on Wednesday morning confirmed that Silva had handed over his resignation and had sought a new ministry.
Daily Mirror online learns that Silva’s sudden resignation was a result of a dispute between him and Minister Rambukwella.
However despite the resignation fiasco, Silva, that same day, insisted that he would retain the Deputy Media Minister post despite being handed over a new portfolio.
Silva maintained that the rumours of his resignation were wrong and also went public by saying that he had come up with new plans for the betterment of the media.
To further make his point, Silva telephoned the Daily Mirror online office yesterday afternoon as the ‘Deputy Media Minister’ to inquire about senior Daily Mirror journalist Sandun Jayasekara and said he would ensure that there is no harm to journalists.
Silva had also expressed concern over the assault.
Meanwhile, Minister Rambukwella speaking to journalists today also expressed concern over the assault on Jayasekara and said that he would take the matter up with the PSD.
“I am not trying to justify what happened with Sandun and I know that this is not the first and the last time that such incidents will take place. However as the media minister, I will do whatever it takes to minimise this type of activity,” Minister Rambukwella said. (Daily Mirror online)