Media freedom will be fostered under my presidency – Sajith

Sajith Premadasa

National democratic Front (NDF) presidential candidate Minister Sajith Premadasa said he stands to strengthen media freedom further once comes to power.

He said he will have a chance to work for the betterment of the media sector and to strengthen media freedom further, which is experienced by the entire country. He made these remarks while addressing a journalists’ forum at the Foundation Institute in Colombo yesterday. The forum was organised by a media organisation called “Journalists for Democracy”.

Minister Premadasa said media freedom should be strengthened to reap the benefits of democratic freedom. Strengthened media freedom is an indication for the transparency of the government and the democracy.

He highlighted that he has a positive idea about journalism and therefore he had never harassed the media or a journalist at least verbally.

“I will not intervene with the media and I will never supress media by implementing new rules and laws. I will have a better opportunity for strengthening my service towards media further after winning the Presidential election,” he said.

However he added that there should be a self-regulation on media than a regulation imposed through a state body.

“People in journalism are duty bound to maintain its quality of the sector through implementing a self-regulation mechanism. Such a self-regulating mechanism is important for having a total freedom of media. I think that there shouldn’t be a media regulation through state,” he added.

Premadasa said he hopes to address issues of journalists including housing, land and others after coming to power. Besides, a social security mechanism will be implemented for journalists under his government, he said.

An international level media training institute will be established to form professional media personnel and to train human resources required for the media sector. Now technology especially the technological advancement in the sector will be implemented to streamline the media sector, he added.

Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka addressing media personnel said that under the next government action will be taken to increase the efficiency of the judiciary. He added that unlike during the previous government, no journalist is harassed, killed or abducted under this government.

He questioned the gathering that whether they like to push the country as a prison of Rajapaksa family by voting for Rajapaksa family.

Speaking on the loan burden of the country, he said that the government paid US$ 4500 million as loan instalments and interest during the year.

“Over 70 per cent of loan amount obtained by this government has to be used for repayments of the loans obtained for high interest rates during the Rajapaksa regime” he added.

Speaking on the partial behaviour of certain media, the Minister said those media organisations are misusing state owned signal frequencies. The ownership of the frequencies will be transferred to the people under a new government.

Minister Rajitha Senarathne said even newspaper editors were brutally attacked and killed during the last regime. “No one wants to go back to the dark era of the journalism sector again,”he said.

(Source: Daily News – By Dharma Sri Abeyratne and H.L. Sunil Shantha)