Ven Samitha Thera, the first Buddhist monk to become a parliamentarian, has called on the government to release journalist J. S. Tissainayagam or charge him if there is evidence.
In a statement, the monk, a Lanka Samasamaja Party’s Baddegama Pradeshiya Sabha member, said”
“A media that operates independently plays a very important role in ensuring the healthy and meaningful functioning of a government. Keeping the public informed and developing a sense about their own rights is amongst the important roles played by media.“Suppression of media freedom is am indicator of an unhealthy society. It is the duty of any democratic society to ensure the growth of a media tradition that understands the pulse of the people.
“When we look at the present government, it appears that some incidents take place without the knowledge of responsible authorities of the government. The invasion of the state television station by a government minister is one example. It was clear that a small incident developed into a situation that was unfavorable to the government.
“Although many recent incidents have taken place with the involvement of some people, they had resulted in the government being placed in an unfavorable situation before the people. A situation that will warrant the intervention of the President into each small incident should be avoided. It seems that there are responsible and experienced ministers within the present cabinet.
“Therefore, if defence authorities had suspicions about journalist Tissainayagam, they should have finished investigating and charged him if there was evidence.
“It is not proper, particularly in the present context, that the government continues to keep him in prolonged detention as it will taint the image of the government. “Therefore, since no charges have been filed against him after 114 days, I call on relevant authorities to release him.”