Clash between politics and mass media necessary for democracy – Media Minister

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Minister of Finance and Media Information Mangala Samaraweera says the clash between politics and the media is a necessity for democracy.

The Minister points out that it is harmful for democracy if any party is defeated by the other party.

Minister Samaraweera made this statement while participating in a program organized by the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association titled ‘Media Politics’ held at the Sri Lanka Press Institute Tuesday (05).

The Minister said mass media is a major pillar of a country same as the politics and if the media also collapses when the politicians fall then it is a huge blow to the democracy.

According to Constructive News, a recent survey by the United Nations and the United States of America suggests that amongst the world’s most trusted professions, journalists have a very low position, next to the politicians.

“We need to survey why both the politicians and the media have become less trusted groups,” he said.

Similarly, the time has come to question whether the “truth is suppressed’ when the professional journalists try to compete with web sites publishing in a flash.

The Minister referring to the blocking of lankaeNews website in Sri Lanka said blocking websites in the 21st century is a meaningless act.

“Today we cannot ban any website. Attempting to do so is a retreat,” he said pointing out that even if a web site is temporarily blocked it can be accessed through a proxy server. “I still read the articles on the lankaeNews website,” he said.

The Free Media Movement and the Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association have urged the government to immediately withdraw the ban on the ‘Lanka e-news’ website using the SLT internet facility.

Expressing his views further, the Media Minister said there was a time the journalists worked as tamed disciples of the government.

“We remember how the government in the past was stronger than mass media, and how many journalists we have lost. But we were able to balance the situation. During the last two years we have enacted laws such as Right to Information Act. The journalists have been given the opportunity to publish their views in any manner without any restrictions,” the Minister noted.

The Minister said today the state media is providing more balanced news than the private media.

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