FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SRI LANKA

For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

UNP leader accuses Telivision network

Kili Maharaja asked two National list MP slots: since I refused I am being slated and attempts made to disrupt the party

At the last General election ,Kili Raja Mahendran of the Maharaja Organization requested two slots in the National list of MPs at the general elections to which I did not agree . Therefore , his Sirasa media has turned hostile to me and my party, and have started a campaign to attack us -Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe made this contentious and controversial disclosure at a media briefing held today.

Strict disciplinary action will be taken at the working Committee meeting tomorrow against those who are organizing protests against the party, he added.

All of you are aware that the Sirasa is relentlessly continuing to attack me and my party. How did this arise? When comrade Minister Mervyn surrounded the Sirasa , it is we who went to the rescue of Sirasa . After the General elections , a request was made to me for two MP posts via the National list . The UNP rejected it. Since that day the Maharaja Organization is harboring a vituperative hatred towards me . Prior to this it was only Ranil Wickremesinghe who could squarely oppose Mahinda Rajapakse , but after their request was rejected , it was the same Ranil Wickremesinghe who is now termed a failure unable to steer the party ahead, Ranil observed.

Kili MahaRaja is a friend of mine. But I have the ability to tell direct that he is wrong or right to any person. As the Opposition leader , even at this moment I am championing the cause of the media personnel and the media Institutions like yours. I have no need to give answers to anyone. That is why I don’t use any lackey to retaliate.

I ask my friend Kili Raja Mahendran to clearly tell why is he trying to ‘buy’ the party and is engaging in a campaign to disrupt and dismantle the UNP without hiding in London city ?

While there is a grave erosion of media rights in the country , the UNP has to fight tooth and nail to combat that evil campaign. But does a media Organization have a right to ‘buy’ over a political party ? By false propaganda and reports has it a right to sow seeds of dissension and hatred among the party members?

Most media Organizations are run by commercial establishments. There must therefore be a dividing line and limit between them. The Commercial establishment should not exert pressures on its media Institution. I would like to question from all other media Institutions whether such a division should or should not exist ?

Though there is no barrier obstructing them from supporting a political party or contesting under any party , it is the consensus of all that it is not possible for any Organization to ‘buy’ a political party, Ranil emphasized

len

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