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Efforts to internationalize Lankan issues:

‘Media should put country first’

All sections of the media in Sri Lanka should act responsibly and put the country first. Various fingers are being pointed at the government by NGOs etc since the government eradicated terrorism and gave freedom to the country and its people. Certain incidents that took place in the country in the recent past is part of those pressures, Acting Media Minister and Acting Cabinet Spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said at yesterday’s Cabinet briefing.

According to the Acting Minister, the main objective of these elements which promote ‘incidents’ is bringing such ‘issues’ to the international level and start a ‘discussion’ at that level to create problems for Sri Lanka. The recent ‘milk incident’ and ‘Dambulla incident’ are some good examples of the ‘operation’ carried out by certain elements which are interested in bringing Sri Lankan issues to the international stage. Some of those ‘issues’ created by them are now being discussed in Geneva etc.

Acting Minister Yapa pointed out that the media and such organizations should think about where we are heading for. The media should give priority to national responsibility than the publicity.

“The media should give publicity to incidents and they should also mention the fact that such incidents are not doing any good for the

country and people.Some people cast aspersions at the state owned television channel for showing the Eelam flag been carried during the UNP May Day rally in Jaffna. But,if a private television channel showed this visual, nobody will point the finger,” he said.

“As the Acting Media Minister, I responsibly say that no crew from ITN covered the UNP May Day rally held in Jaffna. Therefore, nobody can point the finger at ITN journalists or its administration. Television channels telecast visuals obtained from other sources. One UNP MP says they warned and released the persons who displaced the Eelam flag and another UNP MP says nobody displayed the Eelam flag during the rally,” he said.

“Their statements are totally contradictory and raise suspicion on releasing the persons without handing over to the Police. What can be the hidden intention of releasing the culprits after warning them ? Some say the UNP commemorated Babu (The LTTE suicide bomber who killed former President R. Premadasa) by holding their rally in Jaffna. The government has ordered that a full investigation be held in to this incident,” the Acting Media Minister said.

“There is nothing wrong in showing crime stories, such as, the Vilachchiya incident. Can anybody wearing a STF uniform become a STF member. Anybody can wear uniforms. If the incident which took place in Mexico on the World Press Freedom Day, happened in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan government would have been subjected to countless attacks by all. When a government governs a country, incidents take place here and there from time to time and the government takes action. But the most important fact is the freedom enjoyed by Sri Lankan people to day,” he said.

“Protecting people is the responsibility of the government and the Sri Lankan government is doing its duty”, the Acting Minister added.

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