Journalists have strongly protested against the views expressed by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe to a Daily Mirror journalist in a threatening manner.
The incident took place at a media briefing at the Opposition Leader s office at Cambridge Terrace this morning. Responding to a query raised by the journalist of the Daily Mirror newspaper, Mr. Wickramasinghe had responded in a threatening manner. He queried whether Daily Mirror was a paper of the Vijaya Group of Newspapers or that of the Jathika Hela Urumaya party. He threatened the journalist to get a lengthy statement from the Hela Urumaya and publish in the newspaper. A journalist of the newspaper had described him as an ineffective leader. He strongly criticised it. Mr. Wickramasinghe said the more queries the journalist raised would make his paper face difficulties. He also requested that the journalist who published articles criticising him be accompanied for the next news briefing. Mr. Wickramasinghe was also critical of the Chief Editor of the Daily Mirror.On several earlier occasions, Ranil Wickramasinghe has humiliated, threatened and insulted journalists. He had assaulted a journalist during a media briefing when he was serving as a Minister. Very recently he insulted journalists at the Sri Dalada Maligawa by saying that they should be ordained.
Even UNP Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella at several news briefings had been critical of journalists which drew strong protests. The journalists claim that the media policy of the Opposition Leader and the UNP is clearly displayed by these incidents.