Connect with us


‘Journalists are now being arrested after forcibly entering their homes’ – Karu Jayasuriya



‘We see a different media culture’

In recent times, we see a different media culture. Instead of attacking them, journalists are now being arrested after forcibly entering their homes. Their computers are taken away and they are harassed. They are forced to make false statements. Some fabricate blatant lies to ensure the win of their favored politicians, says Karu Jayasuriya, Chairman of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ).

“Character assassination has become common. They create racial and religious divisions. Religion has been made a commodity. As a result, we, as a country, are facing an unprecedented challenge. It is the next generation that will have to face the repercussions”, the former Speaker said at an event to commemorate journalists who laid down their lives for media freedom.

“Journalists will face many challenges in the future to protect media freedom. I will remain with you and continue to support you on that journey”, he stressed.

“Today, we are fulfilling a national duty. The eminent journalists we remember today have sacrificed their lives for us. According to reports, at least 117 journalists have been killed or have disappeared since 1981. An innumerable number have been subjected to great repression. Remembering these incidents causes us great mental anguish. Is it possible that such cruel and inhuman acts could take place in a civilized country?”, he asked.

“Today, you and I are gathered here to pay our respects to those great people. Or in other words to pay off our debts we owe them. The last such commemoration ceremony was held five years ago in 2015.The then convener of the Free Media Movement, Sunil Jayasekara is here today. The late Saman Wagaarachchi also greatly supported this endeavour”, Jayasuriya continued.

The National Movement for Social Justice would like to thank the team of journalists who proposed and organized this event. They worked hard and made many sacrifices for it. I would also like to thank the Journalists’ Association for a Just Society for its contribution towards event. Convener Priyantha Srilal and his team made many commitments and worked hard to make it a reality, he said.

He further said: “We are well aware of the plight of our journalists in the past. We recall how we sprung into action when journalists were shot at, when their homes and offices were bombed and when they were brutally assaulted. We have met some of the senior journalists here at some of those places. We are glad to see them here again. Today, we were able to meet Dharmasiri Bandaranaike and several members of the group who were hospitalized after being assaulted at Kumbukgete, Kurunegala and artistes who came under severe repression in Nittambuwa. They shed blood for a free and clean media.

“Journalism is a dignified service. It is the duty of an impartial journalist to provide truthful information to the public. But today journalists have to submit to the orders of certain newspaper chiefs. They are forced to fabricate stories or to create lies out of the truth.

“They are being used to assassinate the characters of certain individuals and to magnify the characters of others. This is the media culture of some of our institutions. Recently, we saw new newspapers launched. We congratulate all those institutions. I wish you the strength to move forward while defending the noble ethics of the media.

“Despite all this, it is fortunate that still there are respectable journalists in our country who carry out their media mission in accordance with their conscience. We salute them. We must change this hypocritical culture. It is the duty of those here to lead that fight. Knowing true and correct information is a basic human right. We did not win these rights easily. We don’t know to what extent that right will be protected under the 20th Amendment. But we will continue to stand for these rights.

“Finally I wish to make one important explanation before you. We continue to move forward in accordance with the vision put forward by Ven. Sobhitha Thera for justice, truth and fairness. We are an independent, impartial civil society organization. We do not have an ambition to create kings, presidents or prime ministers. But we have to protect the fundamental rights of the people of this country, which were destroyed by the 20th Amendment. It is that dangerous

“We kindly ask the authorities to not deprive the people of their right as we already see concerning signs. We will stand up and fully commit ourselves to protect these rights for our future generation”.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Lanka to lend US$2.5bn to US and top-rated borrowers in 2023 under IMF deal: analysis



ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is projected to lend 2,533 million US dollars mainly to the US and Euro areas during an International Monetary Fund deal in 2023 including a mandatory 1.4 billion US dollars collected from exports and remittances, according to official documents.

Sri Lanka is expected to get two tranches of 331.2 million dollar (254 million special drawing rights each) in March and September 2023 from the IMF.In 2023 Sri Lanka has to repay 256.4 million dollars from an earlier IMF loan taken during an earlier currency crisis.

Net inflows from the IMF would be 406.12 million US dollars in 2023 if the first review is completed in September 2023.Sri Lanka has committed to collect at least 1.4 billion US dollars from remittances and exports and lend to the US and other developed nations during 2023 under the IMF deal.

A large volume has already been collected. An ad hoc peg is now operated under the IMF deal to buy dollars and export to the West, as ‘below-the-line outflows. Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves are usually loaned to highly rated sovereign or sovereign linked borrowers, mainly in the US.

But there have been amounts of Euro assets in Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves at times, triggering forex losses when the dollar to Euro parity changed.Under the IMF program there is a performance criterion to increase net international reserves by 1,948 million dollars during 2023.

Sri Lanka is also expected to repay a 200 million US dollar swap to Bangladesh during 2023, which will also raise the NIR.At the moment Sri Lanka’s central bank is in debt after borrowing from India, Bangladesh, India including on Asian Clearing Union dues as well as the IMF. Year end net international reserves would still be negative.

Sri Lanka’s gross reserves are expected to rise by 2.5 billion US dollars to 4.4 billion US dollars in 2023 indicating that the country will lend 2.5 billion US dollars to the US and other highly rated borrowers. It may include re-invested interest coupons.

Sri Lanka is also expected to get 650 million dollars from the Asian Development Bank and 250 million dollars from the World Bank as part of partner support for the IMF deal. Outside of core monetary reserves linked to reserve money, balances in Treasury accounts are also counted as forex reserves.

Continue Reading


BASL writes to IGP over protest against Saliya Peiris



The BAR Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has condemned a protest staged outside the Law of Chamber of BASL President Saliya Pieris, PC on Friday.The protest was staged against the representation of Saliya Pieris, PC for notorious Sri Lankan drug kingpin Nadun Chinthaka alias “Harak Kata”.

Condemning the protest, BASL said in a statement that Saliya Pieris, PC was only conducting his professional duties with regard to a particular client.

“We are of the view the said protest seriously hinders his right to represent a client, a professional right which has been safeguarded by law,” it pointed out.

The BASL called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to take action to ensure that Saliya Peiris’s professional duties as an Attorney-at-law, are not hindered and to ensure his safety.

Full text of the letter: ” We write with reference to an organized protest outside the chamber of Mr Saliya Pieris, President of the \Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

We have been made aware the said protest relates to Mr. Pieris conducting his professional duties with regard to a particular client. We are of the view the said protest seriously hinders his right to represent a client, a professional right which has been safeguarded by law.In the case of Wijesundara Mudiyanselage Naveen Nayantha Bandara Wijesundara v Sirwardena and Others (SCFR 13/2019), the Supreme Court observed that:

“The first piece of legislation passed by the Parliament soon after the promulgation of the 1978 Constitution was the Judicature Act No. 02 of 1978. As the administration of justice in any civilized society cannot be effectively implemented without lawyers, the legislature in its wisdom, through the Judicature Act, established the legal profession.

Thus, there is no dispute that the legal profession is a sine qua non for the due administration of justice in this country and for that matter in any civilized society. The said profession is essential for the maintenance of the Rule of Law and maintenance of law and order and its due existence is of paramount importance to the organized functioning of the society which is primarily the basis for the smooth functioning of the country as a whole.”

Further, Section 41 of the Judicature Act which has clearly set out the right of representation, and, has further shed light on the above mechanism established for implementing the administration of justice in the country.

It is as follows; Section 41 of the Judicature Act (Right of Representation)

(1) Every attorney-at-law shall be entitled to assist and advise clients and to appear, plead or act in every court or other institution established by law for the administration of justice and every person who is a party to or has or claims to have the right to be heard in any proceeding in any such court or other such institution shall be entitled to be represented by an attorney-at-law.

(2) Every person who is a party to any proceeding before any person or tribunal exercising quasi-judicial powers and every person who has or claims to have the right to be heard before any such person or tribunal shall unless otherwise”

Therefore, we strongly demand that you take action to ensure that Mr. Peiris’s professional duties as an Attorney-at-law, are not hindered and to ensure his safety.”

Continue Reading


State need not do business, says Ranil, seven SOEs to be divested



ECONOMYNEXT – The State need not engage in business as its mandate is to provide services such as education and maintain law and order, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said Thursday defending plans to divest government-held shares of seven state owned enterprises (SOEs).

At a discussion at the presidential secretariat on Thursday morning, Wickremesinghe responding to a question about the decision said that Sri Lanka must no longer hold on to corporations and enterprises owned by the government.

Sri Lanka has been spending more on the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) than it has on education, he said.The following seven SOEs will undergo the divestment of state-held shares: Sri Lankan Airlines Ltd including Sri Lankan Catering Ltd, Sri Lanka Telecom PLC, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Ltd,

Canwill Holdings Pvt. Ltd., (Grand Hyatt Hotel), Hotel Developers Lanka Ltd., (Hilton Hotel Colombo), Litro Gas Lanka Ltd., including Litro Gas Terminals (Pvt) Ltd., (LPG retailing), and Lanka Hospital Corporation PLC

The State Owned Enterprises Restructuring Unit of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilisation and National Policies will oversee the process, a statement said.

“Not all of them are loss making. But we do have to repay debt. You can’t keep these and pay back loans.

“If we can’t pay off our loans, we might have to sell something in the house and pay it,” said Wickremesnghe.

Asked why Sri Lanka should sell SOEs that aren’t making losses, he responded: “Why is the state engaged in business? That’s not our mandate. The state has no business engaging in business.”

“In what country is there a law that these (businesses) should be (held by the state)?” he added.

Noting that the crisis-hit nation is trying to embark on a path of recovery and rapid development, the president said Sri Lanka must follow India’s example.

“India is selling their airports, profit making ones. India has come to that stage. We have to go there too.”

Continue Reading