The Rule of Law Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka has expressed its concern over the recent media lashing by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for supporting the Opposition.
“The committee firmly believes that, media freedom which is known as the fifth protocol, in any country, is a quintessential pillar in any democracy, and there should not be any attempt to unduly curtail that fundamental freedom in any way,” the Committee said in a statement today.
While being mindful that unethical reporting has to be subjected to the due process of law, the Committee has drawn attention of all sections to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which reads: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
“The Rule of Law Committee while being mindful that unethical reporting has to be subject to the due process of law yet emphasises that a legal and regulatory environment that allows for an open pluralistic media sector to emerge as well as the political will to support the sector, and the rule of law to protect it; are necessary prerequisites for the realization of the aforetasted freedom,” the statement said.
The Committee has appealed to the Government to ensure an environment in which fair and responsible opposition and dissent are respected and tolerated and where the media is free to give voice to those who may wish to disagree with the government.