For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Fellowing is a news item published by the state controlled Ceylon Daily News on 04 July 2012.
Artistes and celebrities yesterday lashed out at websites that resort to character assassination and gossip mongering thereby tarnishing the good name and reputation of famous personalities in the cinematic and other fields.
They hailed the government for banning several websites which have failed to register with the Media and Information Ministry. The artistes voiced their anger over the conduct of these websites which go against all ethics and accepted norms.
They said these websites were trying to create a wrong impression about the country too by disseminating baseless and distorted news without giving an opportunity to the victims to have their say. “These websites spread false news bringing disrepute to certain individuals and shame on the country,” they said. Actress Angela Seneviratne said stiff competition between websites has resulted in this situation.
“These websites are not legal and there is competition among these websites. They tarnished the characters of several popular personalities to become more popular than their competitors,” she said. “They tried to achieve their goals while using the free media concept in a wrong manner.
‘It is a threat to the good image which these popular persons have built with their own courage and because of these illegal websites they fail to protect their image and following of their fans,” Seneviratne said.
Commenting on the topic, Southern Provincial Council member and actress Anarkali Akarsha said the government has taken a correct decision to seal gossip websites.
“Some websites mislead both local and international community with its false publications,” she said .
“It is true that we are living in a modern world. We browse websites to get proper information. We don’t want to get false information through these websites. Therefore the government has taken a correct step to put an end to this problem and take care of the people,” she said.
Parliamentarian and actress Upeksha Swarnamali said she is extremely happy about this decision. “As a public servant, I am always looking for justice. The government has taken a correct decision against gossip websites publishing false information. The government should also take measures to ensures justice in all fields,” she said.
Veteran lyricist, writer and film maker Professor Sunil Ariyaratne said owners of sealed websites say they never published false information and they only published the reality.
“It is good if they published only the correct thing as it is their duty to show correct things in society to the public. Unfortunately, some websites have made unfounded allegations against some artistes causing them mental distress,” he said.
Ishara Mudugamuwa and Ridma Dissanayake