New minister vows to safeguard media freedom

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The fourth state of a country after the Executive, the Legislature and Judiciary is the mass media and all the efforts will be taken to safeguard the people’s right to know the information as well the journalists who work under numerous threats, said by newly appointed Mass Media and Information Minister Gayantha Karunatilaka.

Minister assumed duties at the Ministry last Friday and vowed to protect media freedom in the country and ready to recognize the dreams of media personnel. Minister Karunathilaka said though he doesn’t believe a 100 percent media freedom under any democracy, but attempts will be made to ensure maximum media freedom.

“It is a well-known fact that many young journalists serving in the state as well as in the private media 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 added that as subject minister he too has a dream of realizing these dreams of the journalists as a person who studied the field during last ten years.

As the President Maithripala Sirisena invited all the journalists who left the country to return, the Minister also refreshed the invitation and vowed to create a better environment to work under a meaningful press freedom. The President had also last week ordered the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to lift a ban on news sites that were blocked for a long time.

Ministry Secretary Karunathilake Paranawithana also addressed at the function to assume the duties by the Minister and said that the era which gave orders “what to publish and what not to publish” is over and the media heads or the journalists will never be given instructions on front page pictures hereafter.

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