Your new found interest in media freedom is heart-warming. We too strongly believe that any form of government media repression must be questioned and corrected. We also believe that all governments must be held accountable; the media should never be censored, journalists shouldn’t be abducted or disappeared. Instead they must be empowered, encouraged and welcome by all politicians and government institutions. And yes, as citizens we must all demand media freedom and improvement in our access to authentic information. But you Sir, are not one of us; you, former supreme leader, do not get to talk about media freedom, you lost that right the moment you betrayed the trust that a large portion of us put on you to ensure the democratic freedoms of not just some of us, but all 22 million of us. You failed us miserably.
Your 180 degree transition from an authoritarian leader who led by despotism to one that is criticizing the current government for its repression of media is quite fascinating. This very news site that you chose to share your grievances was blocked and inaccessible to all of us living in Sri Lanka during your administration. I do not believe it is a stretch to assume that the irony of the recent developments in your political journey can be grasped even by those who support you.
Your grievance, had it come from an ordinary, democratic, law-abiding citizen would have been one of substance. You mention that “not a day goes by without a major demonstration against the government.” I can see how this may confuse you. You see, this government happens to encourage the democratic freedom of assembly, an act that was met with real bullets during your tenure, killing innocent civilians whose demands were as simple as access to clean water. It would have also helped if the media organizations you mention were not ones that were tainted with conflicts of interest during your tenure.
I believe Derana TV is the same network that found it necessary to recently telecast footage from your son’s minor surgery on its prime time news. We can only hope it was a potential backup plan tip that you received from former MP Duminda Silva for the ongoing investigations into your family, to somehow convince us that his surgery led to a memory lapse. I truly, truly hope it was part of some long term political strategy, if not, it is utterly unfortunate that millions of us had to see it. However, I digress from my point, so let me be very precise:
You are not one of us, you do not represent the Sri Lanka we want to see: the Sri Lanka that we demand from the current government. We understand that there’s a lot that needs to be done to restore the democracy you deprived this country of for a decade. This government has a long way to go and it is a work in progress.Unlike your supporters, we are not blind followers. We will take it upon us to hold this government accountable, ensure that another Rajapaksa era will not be repeated. We shall build a country that is strong enough to put the trauma we experienced from your leadership behind us. We will take this country forward, and we will unapologetically leave you behind. Do us all a favor and stay behind; pack up your stones and go back to your glass house.