In a surprising turn of events further eroding the Government’s credibility on media freedom the Police media unit has been temporarily suspended by the new Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara, for violating orders and making statements to the media.
ASP Ruwan Gunasekara headed the unit, which is stationed at the Police Headquarters.
According to reports, the new Chief has instructed the division to only issue written statements instead of verbal statements to the media. However, the personel had reportedly issued verbal statements and confirmation too of an incident.
Initial reports reaching Colombo Telegraph said the issue had arisen regarding the news of the arms cache found in Chavakachcheri. However, the arms cache was found in the last week of March while the Jayasundara took oaths as the IGP on April 18.
The suspension and orders come as a blow to the media and information to the public.
Journalists across the country, recieve verbal confirmation of stories around the clock from the Police Media division.
The written statements of stories selected by the Police are sent on electronic mail twice a day.
“it creates a massive issue for us. We call the media unit every single hour of the day for any story. Then we are either directed to the relevant police station or incident. This gagging order is nonsensical because if the division refuses to speak- we can only rely on the statements sent to us. They pick and chose the incidents which are sent on that statement with no credibility at all”, a Colombo based journalists told Colombo Telegraph.