For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
“President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is a true Sri Lankan from Medamulana will not accept a code of media ethics imported from the UK, as suggested by the Opposition Leader. A local code of media ethics formulated by Sri Lankan journalists, academics etc to match local requirements is to be introduced this year,” Cabinet Spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.
Addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing held at the Government Information Department Auditorium yesterday, Minister Rambukwella said that the government will not introduce a code of media ethics by force. The process of formulating a code of ethics will be open. Proposals, suggestions, opinions and ideas of all will be obtained and all relevant persons and groups ,such as, journalists, scholars etc are to be consulted while forming the code of media ethics.
According to Minister Rambukwella, arrangements will also be made to establish an authority in order to cut down the procedures followed by the Government Information Department. Once the authority is established, the process of taking decisions will become speedier, short and smooth. The main objective of establishing code of ethics and authority is operating with a future vision for the development of media and to remove all hazards (if there are any) which prevent the development of media.
“The so called ‘Umbrella Organization’ of media personnel have around 1400 members ,but, they do not know what this media organization is or what it is doing. None of the office bearers of this organization are in Sri Lanka. They are all abroad. Sri Lankan people have very clear experience on how some sections of the ‘media’ and ‘journalists’ behaved during the humanitarian operation. The history is very bitter. They did their best to destroy the country, people and the government and attacked our Armed Forces. Some ‘journalists’ were on the payroll of some international forces and acted against their motherland”, Minister Rambukwella said.
“They said the body of Prabhakaran was not his and it that was the body of someone elses. They lied even after watching the body themselves and said Prabhakaran was rescued by a country. Some accounts belonging to NGOs are under the tag of ‘social services’. But the people’s judgement is the most powerful entity.
‘The matter will be judged by the people when it is presented to the people’s court. But the majority of the media and journalists extended their fullest support to the country and its people during the humanitarian operation”, Minister Rambukwella added.