Following in the footsteps of his ‘Rajapaksa masters’, President Sirisena has threatened state-run media institutions, ordering them to stop inviting certain politicians to political talk shows or interviews that casts him in a negative light.
Sirisena has contacted ITN and threatened them to “watch their back” if they proceed with a program that was scheduled to host MP Hirunika Premachandra this morning.
MP Hirunika took to Facebook and wrote up the entire ordeal that had expired.
In her FB post, Hirunika notes a journalist from ITN reached out to her yesterday afternoon and requested that she not mention any negative comments on Sirisena, adding it would be ‘an issue for us”.
Hirunika had acknowledged the request but informed in return that her reason to attend the program was to mainly speak of the Easter Sunday attacks and that she has no choice but to speak the truth about Sirisena’s culpability in the tragedy.
Her response to the journalist had been met with the following reply:
If the channel is acquired this will all be finished. You know how crazy he can get!
All TV channels are attacking the UNP and this is the only channel available to at least air a development news.
Even that space will be lost if you proceed with saying negative things about him…”
Hirunika had then told the journalist to inform the announcer to refrain from directing any questions with regard to Easter attacks.
Few minutes later, another contact of hers at the ITN had called to give a read out of a call Sirisena made to the station with regard to Hirunika’s appearence in a program.
“He had asked under whose orders you have been invited to the program tomorrow… he had also asked whether ITN is trying to tarnish his image by bringing you tomorrow,” the contact had informed her while adding Sirisena had directly threatened to retaliate if the program proceeded as planned.
“He said, ‘…You wait and see what I will do to you if she is in the program tomorrow, ‘ …So I am sorry but we will not be able to accommodate you in tomorrow’s program,” the contact told Hirunika.
This isn’t the first time Sirisena threatened media institutions to censor any negative publicity that involves him. Earlier the request also clearly referred to his family including Daham Sirisena as well.
MP Hirunika goes on to note that today, Sirisena is engaged in the very tactics his 2015 opposers resorted to, with the aim of limiting the reach for his vision and message.
The young MP in her post also wrote that Sirisena is the ‘most unsuccessful and naive leader’ she has witnessed within the political history she is able to recollect.
She also added that it is a shame that an individual who could have bid farewell to the position like Mandela, will instead leave the post after being the ‘joker of the castle’.
Since President’s office has so far not responded to any of Colombo Telegraph queries, we have not asked the President’s side of the story.