Sri Lanka rejects press freedom bill
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 21, 2011, 23:52
Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's government voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to defeat a move by the opposition to introduce a bill for freedom of information and greater freedom to the media.

Rajapaksa's party steamrolled the bill presented by opposition lawmaker Karu Jayasuriya who wanted to ensure that the country's media had greater freedoms and better access to official information.

"The Bill is to provide for freedom of access to official information; specify grounds on which access may be denied: the establishment of the Freedom of Information Commission: the appointment of Information Officers; setting out the procedure for making requests for information and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto," said a paper presented in the parliament today.

The Rajapaksa government enjoys a two thirds majority in the parliament, thanks to several defections from the opposition.

Although there is no official censorship in Sri Lanka, rights groups and activists have said that media institutions were practicing self-censorship to avoid intimidation from the authorities.

The opposition has accused the government of trying to stifle media freedom.


First Published: Tuesday, June 21, 2011, 23:52

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