‘Certain media institutions playing to a political agenda’

The people’s real issues and information that matter to them have got sidelined as many media organisations are immersed in a political agenda, Home Affairs Deputy Minister J.C. Alawathuwala said.

Addressing a press conference at Sirikotha yesterday, the Deputy Minister complained that there is a chasm between what the media reports and the ground reality in the country. He pointed out that certain media institutions have deliberately forgotten their social responsibility in their attempt to cater to the political agenda of the Joint Opposition(JO).

“There was a lot of media hype over the JO’s recent protest in Colombo, but it was the most unsuccessful protest by an opposition party in recent times.

There was a huge publicity stunt prior to the protest, spending millions of rupees, but it proved to be a flop. Consequently, the allegation that the UNP was behind distributing contaminated milk packets to the protesters was given huge media publicity, but that too was proven false. Then the media recently highlighted a news story which said that a drought-stricken family in Anuradhapura was surviving on drumstick (“Murunga”) leaves for days. This was again found to be untrue. This type of media behavior raises concerns on media ethics,” Alawathuwala explained.

The Deputy Minister pointed out that the fake news of “Murunga” leaves was planted by certain media organisations with the vicious intention of creating a bad impression that the people starve to death under the incumbent “Yahapalanaya” Government.

“Some media organisations allocate about 75 percent of their air time to news that favours the JO. Because of this type of media behavior, people hardly get to know about things that really matter to them. For example, our Ministry recently provided the facility for any person living in any part of the country to obtain the birth, death and marriage certificates within five minutes. This news matters to the people’s lives, but, no media gave prominence to it. Similarly, the good initiatives of the Government such as the ‘Suraksha’ Insurance Scheme and ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ programme did not get the due media publicity,” the Deputy Minister noted.

“We are not asking the media to and publish the news that only favours the Government, but report the people’s real issues and the initiatives taken to move the country forward.

"When that does not happen, we together with the public have the right to ask questions about unbiased reporting,” he remarked. He also accused the media of trying to give the false impression that the UNP was behind the alleged plot to assassinate the President. “The CID is conducting a thorough investigation into it. We, in the UNP, brought President Maithripala Sirisena to power and we are committed to protect him,” Alawathuwala commented.


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