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