For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
(Lanka-e-News, Oct.27, 2010, 11.50PM) When Hettiaratchi of the inter Companies Association was distributing leaflets this morning (27) in front of the Railway station, he was taken to the police station and questioned.
The Maradana Police station OIC had threatened Hettiarachi and yelled that he would not allow leaflets to be distributed in his police area under any circumstance. ‘You can go anywhere else and distribute’, the OIC has warned.
The OIC has also stated that these leaflets are damaging to the environment and if this is not stopped, he would have to arrest Hettiarachi, adding that these are not his directives, but orders received from the Govt.
We have a right to express our views. ‘If we are entitled to distribute papers, why should you arrest’, Hettiarachi has challenged the OIC.
It is interesting to note that when members of the Samastha lanka trade union conference were pasting posters against a group who had arrived in a Black Pajero claiming themselves as police officers and had threatened ‘Red Lanka’ newspaper journalist Sanjeewa Padmasiri, the Police had arrested some members of the Samastha Lanka union and produced them to Court against the poster pasting. But the Court had held that they have a right to paste posters and freed them.