Media freedom – promises, promises and promises

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 2005 manifesto – Mahinda Chinthana states that the state media will be held as the highest example of how independent and responsible media should function. To this end, the state media will be de-politicised.

Following a comprehensive consultative process, with private and state media participation, a Code of Ethics will be drawn up for the media.

This Code of Ethics will ensure the media is not used in an irresponsible manner that could have an adverse impact on Sri Lanka’s identity, culture and national pride; on the minds of the younger generation, and our society’s ethical standards.

  • Freedom of the media will be ensured by improving the work conditions of media personnel;
  • All recognised media personnel will be provided with duty-free computers;
  • All recognised news reporters will be given a duty-free motorcycle;
  • The Chief Editors of recognised print and electronic media will be provided with duty-free vehicles;
  • An ombudsman will be appointed to look into any problems encountered by the media;
  • Scholarships will be given to state and private media journalists demonstrating outstanding ability and creativity.

General Sarath Fonseka’s media policy

The media will be completely free, and investigative journalism will be the first line in the checks and balances put in place to expose and eliminate corruption.

  • We will guarantee this media freedom, and ensure the government provides for the welfare of all media personnel;
  • We will respect the media and its right to report, and we will treat the media as the voice of the public;
  • We will introduce a comprehensive Freedom of Information Act, and legally ensure that the whistle-blowers and watchdogs of society are protected;
  • The media will be allowed to challenge us so we can fulfil our promises. The media will be allowed to voice the grievances of the masses. Working together, we hope to foster an atmosphere of responsible and investigative reporting. There is not just one point of view; we should hear all points of view.
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