Government Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka has acknowledged that an unofficial ‘news blackout’ was imposed by the government on mainstream media with concern to reporting on the anti-Muslim violence that erupted in Southern Sri Lanka.
Ranawaka, who is also the General Secretary of Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), has heavily criticized the ‘news blackout’ pointing out the move has boomeranged as it has led to the creation of an extremely negative impression concerning Sri Lanka, worldwide.
In his comment to a weekly English newspaper – The Nation, Ranawaka has pointed out that since news today can be propagated worldwide in a matter of seconds through social media, the censorship on the Aluthgama and Beruwala incidents led to the suppression of the truth as it left scope for rumours to be circulated.
He had also been critical of English language media and citizen journalists on social media, accusing them of ‘fabricating stories’ concerning the ground situation in the areas affected by the violence.
Furthermore he had rejected the fact that the violence in Aluthgama and Beruwala were well-coordinated attacks against the Muslim community, describing such claims as ‘blatant lies’.