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Thursday, 11 June 2009

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Government Gazette

Abduction of journalists :

No need for PSC - Media Minister

Media and Information and Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told Parliament yesterday there is no need to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee on the incidents of abductions and killings of journalists as the Government has given all required facilities and assistance to the police to conduct investigations on these incidents.

The Minister was responding to the special statement made by the Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera requesting the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee to look into the incidents of abductions and killings of journalists.

The Minister said the Government vehemently condemns the recent incident of assaulting journalist and media unionist Poddala Jayantha.

The Opposition has made a mistake of taking isolated incidents out of their context to say that so many abductions and killings of journalists have been taken place since 2005, he said.

Certain incidents have taken place in such a socio-political context. Therefore, it is not fair to select a number of incidents and generalise them to say that journalists are harassed. As a responsible Government, we have a responsibility to look into these incidents relating to journalists.

The Minister said the Government has no intention whatsoever to bring laws to curb media freedom. Media freedom should be ensured for the development of a society. Journalists should have the freedom to criticise the Government or speak in favour of the Government.

"We are sad to hear that Journalist Poddala Jayantha was attacked. He works in the Government managed Lake House. He did not have any problem with the Government. He had not written any article criticising the Government. Therefore, it is wrong to point fingers at the Government regarding this incident. The Government will commence a full scale investigation into this attack".

The Minister said "when you say that 11 journalists were killed, we have doubts about this figure. In this list of journalists, there are names, those who worked for the LTTE's Voice of Tigers. I don't know whether we can identify them as journalists".


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