For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
The Editors’ Guild is sleeping while the government is interfering with media freedom, alleged opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, adding that he wondered whether the president of the Guild was a person without a backbone.
He challenged the Editors’ Guild to reveal the names of the journalists who had received laptops from the president.
Speaking at a function at Sirikotha yesterday (Nov. 21), the opposition leader accused the media of keeping dead silence, in the face of tax concessions given by the government to its cronies, racing cars to children of its leaders and laptops for the journalists, while the common masses got further problems only.
The present regime had silenced the media through the white van terror in the past, and is silencing them now by offers of laptops, he said.
The very next day after receiving laptops from the president, cartoonists Dasa Hapuwalana, Tissa Hewawissa and Thalangama Jayasinghe had all carried cartoons attacking him, said the opposition leader.
The distribution of laptops among the journalists should have been the responsibility of the Editors’ Guild, he said, adding that it should explain as to whether it had been deliberately sidelined.
The opposition leader said the 5,000 communicators recruited by the UNP would raise awareness among the public about government wrongdoings and rally the people against it.