Your Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Don’t let your Media Minister make a fool of your Excellency and Your Excellency’s Government!

President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Media Minister Keheliya
Onlanka News – By N.Iresha Ratnayake

REASONS STATED FOR IMPOSITION OF FEES FOR NEWS WEBSITES A FLAGRANT VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION, UNDERMINING THE NORMS OF DEMOCRACY.

Recent news of an imposition of a registration fee and an annual fee has baffled the local and international media. Perhaps the fall of the Media Minister in Australia is having an impact now or is it a calculated move to create dissention and discredit the Government which is already in the arena of criticism as far as the Media freedom is concerned ? Whatever it may be the move of the Media Minister was absolutely uncalled for during a time when journalism has become a dangerous profession for all those who do not sing hosannas to the policies of the Government.

THIS MOVE IS AN ACT TO DISCREDIT MAHINDA CHINTHANA AND TO BRING DISCREDIT TO THE GOVERNMENT TO UNDERMINE THE PRESIDENT.

The imposition of the fees will only strengthen the opposition as reports indicate that numerous website editors have been contacted by various businessmen and corporate bodies that they would sponsor the fees and to maintain a high standard to criticize the Government as the Media ministry lacks competent people to detect the journalistic skills to read between the lines.

As such the imposition of the fees would only increase animosity more opposition, creative and constructive criticism and criticism which cannot be understood by inexperienced personnel working in the Media Ministry.

Several established Sunday Papers critical of the Government too have news websites and these are heavily sponsored by their corporate Masters and payment of the fees will not affect them. Those genuine websites who support the Government without earning on advertisements would have to shut down.

In January this year near 32 websites were issued licences-some of them were absolutely racists. Most of the Tamil Political Parties have their news websites without license and refer to the Government as Sinhala Government. These websites are in Tamil but there is no monitoring unit to ban these sites. Overnight several other websites were registered with calls from interested parties.

To impose a heavy license fee is akin to daylight robbery that too for websites already registered.

The reasons stated by the Media Minister are stupendous and has no basis or justification for such an exorbitant fee. The Corporate bodies which are against the Government who support the Opposition will register websites overseas under .com,.net.,.org etc and carry on regardless. For instance it is trite learning as who is behind Sri Lanka Guardian website, although this is blocked one could read the news through ninjaproxy.com  In the same way all banned news sites could be read by the international media. So, instead of having a code for Journalistic Ethics, the poor Media Minister has been misguided to impose heavy fees. Heavy fees can be paid for the license, but these payments will be sponsored by corporate bodies attached to the Opposition. This has happened globally.

For your attention Your Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa!

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