Just two days after Minister of Finance and Mass Media issued a statement vehemently condemning ‘virulent personal attacks by individuals linked to the joint opposition and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) in a bid to intimidate journalists who worked on the NYT (New York Times) report, attacking them for doing their job,’ it is revealed that his Chief of Staff Thusitha Haloluwa has launched as scathing attack on a journalist who had exposed allegedly financial irregularity in a state institution running into millions of rupees.
Halloluwa, how is also a Working Director of the National Lotteries Board, is on record abusing a journalist in foul language and threatening him as well, as revealed in a News 1st news feature aired two days ago. Halloluwa’s tirade was first reported by SL Vlog, presented by Dharshana Handungoda using recorded evidence.
Mangala Samaraweera tweeted from a verified account on July 3 condemning former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his brother Gotabaya and his son Namal using the hashtags ‘lka’ and ‘mediafreedom’ thus: ‘Back to old tricks even while in opposition. Shame on you.’
The News 1st expose was aired on the same day. Two days have passed but Samaraweera has not taken any action or even issued any statement regarding his officer’s conduct. Halloluwa continues to work under Samaraweera.
Halloluwa has claimed that he has worked as the Media Secretary to Ministers, Amarasiri Dodangoda and Anura Priyadharshana Yapa. He claims he was Secretary and Coordinating Secretary of Minister Mangala Samaraweera and later a Press Officer at Madam Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s Media Unit.
Samaraweera, according to a media release issued by Director of Information at his ministry, M. Ali Hassen, said, “As Media Minister I vehemently condemn such practices where journalists are attacked for doing their job. There must be an immediate halt to these practices. These allegations must be immediately investigated by the relevant authorities and action taken against perpetrators without fear or favour.