The government announced in Parliament yesterday that it had commenced an investigation into the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda.
Responding to a question raised by Kurunegala District UPFA MP Shantha Bandara, Chief Government Whip and Minister of Mass Media and Parliamentary Affairs, Gayantha Karunatilake said that the government had taken steps to provide aid and relief to the family of Ekneligoda.
Minister Karunatilake said that the government expected to call back the journalists who had left the country owing to political pressure and threats to their lives. “We hope to call back all journalists who left the country because of political pressure and death threats. I myself have already made an open invitation for them to return,” he said.
MP Bandara said that media freedom was being curtailed and cited certain comments made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Minister Karunathilake: “How can you say that there is no media freedom? The Prime Minister only made observations on the conduct of certain media institutions. We have ensured media freedom unlike the times of the Rajapaksa regime where white vans kidnapped those who spoke against the then government.”
MP Bandara: A movie produced by MP Bandula Gunawardena on the life and death of journalist Richard De Zoysa has been prohibited by the government.
Minster Karunatilake said that no such prohibition was made by the Ministry of Mass Media and the Ministry of Defence might have more information on the matter.
by Saman Indrajith/IS