SLK’s New Media Minister Pledges To Protect Media Freedom

Gayantha-KarunathilakaJan 16 2015, Colombo: Gayantha Karunatilaka, who assumed duties at the Ministry of media information on Friday, has said he is dedicated to protect media freedom in the country and ready to recognize the dreams of media personnel.

The media minister was speaking after assuming duties, he said the mass media is considered as the fourth Government in any country after the Executive, the Legislature and Judiciary.

“As a country it could not be satisfied at all when taking into consideration the incidents that happened with respect to media freedom in the past,” the Minister said adding that everyone is entrusted with the uphill task of further solidifying media freedom.

Minister Karunathilaka said he doesn’t believe that there is 100 percent media freedom in any democratic country. Nevertheless attempts should be made to ensure maximum media freedom within the country, he said.

“It is a well-known fact that many young journalists are serving in the state as well as in the private media. They are encountering many problems. Some are boarded, while some have taken lodging in rooms, temples and churches. They have dreams and I am clearly aware of these dreams,” Minister Karunathilaka said.

He emphasized that as Media Minister he too has a dream of realizing these dreams of the journalists.

Press freedom advocates expects the media freedom to improve under the new government as both the new President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe who took office a week ago, have promised to ensure full media freedom.

The President last week ordered the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to lift a ban on news sites that were blocked under the previous government of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

PM Wickremesinghe assured that journalists in Sri Lanka could “feel free to report” whatever they want without the fear of being abducted and urged the journalists, who fled the country during the Rajapaksa regime due to fears of being abducted or killed to return to the country.

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