Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday warned that certain print media were in an attempt to revive communal disharmony in the country and said he would gather the masses and run an ‘Occupy’ strategy against such media institutions if they fail to stop publishing content that seeks to revive racial hatred.
“Several print media institutions including many Sinhala newspapers are attempting to revive communal disharmony and spread racism in the minds of the public. These were henchmen of Mahinda Rajapaksa who became media institution heads while also holding positions of the Rajapaksa regime,” he said speaking at an event yesterday.
He added that there is no need to conceal names and said they should be declared publicly.
“Look at Anura Solomons, he was a presidential advisor but is also the Editor of Divaina. Look at the Rivira owners, we will launch an inquiry into them. . . Look at Irudina! These papers are owned by Rajapaksa henchmen who made money during the previous regime and then bought over these newspapers.”
He said these Editors helped former President Rajapaksa suppress journalists who bore views against the former government.
“They helped Rajapaksas suppress the media and were trying to create a public opinion about a Western conspiracy out to get MR. They even tried to destroy me for ten years and oust me from politics. . . Their latest attempt is to campaign for Mahinda’s Prime Ministerial candidature. I wish to tell them, you can promote MR and work for me but please dont revive racism,” he added.
He also said that some of the print media institution owners also own stakes in the stock market and said if they continue to publish content that incites racial hatred, steps will be taken to remove them from the stock market.
“Such individuals should not be in media or in business,” the PM said.
He went on to state that they are ready to answer such media personnel if they turn a deaf ear to his call to halt publications that seek to revive or create communal disharmony.
Mr. Wickramasinghe also asked them to respect media freedom,apologize from the journalists and said these individuals did not engage in journalism but were the ‘lavatory cleaners of the Rajapaksas’.
Speaking further he said that he will summon the heads of all media institutions, media rights activists and human rights activists and hold a discussion and warn them against attempts to revive communal disharmony.