Stating that this was a presidential election year, he made this statement during the Presidential media awards held at the BMICH yesterday.
The President noted that certain parties are engaged in a mudslinging campaign against him using new web sites and newspapers, adding that within that presidential hopeful list the anticipated replacement could be a far worse alternative.
He pointed out that for a just society criticism and dialog are two very vital components.
Many decades of unpleasant experiences:
The President noted that although he remains silent in the face of continued attacks and insults levelled against him, as he values media freedom and democracy, but warned that the alternative proposed in replacing him would not be that tolerant and understanding. This, he said, was amply manifested over the previous years and this is not something that is hard to understand.
Explaining the fate of journalists over the past several decades, the President said he stood patiently and tolerated the constant mudslinging and abuse levelled against him and has never wrongly used the security forces and the police for his advantage and has had no connections with the underworld.
Therefore, he noted that it was the responsibility of the media to not only criticise and argue, but also to be a strength in establishing a just and meaningful society.
The President presented the ‘Sri Lanka Madyabhimani’ President’s awards to four prominent journalists.
Senior journalist Edwin Ariyadasa for his contribution to the newspaper industry, Karunaratne Amarasinghe for his contribution to the broadcasting industry, Lucian Bulathsinhala for his contribution to the television industry and Lakshman Jayawardena for his contribution to the web industry.
Land and Reforms Parliament Ministry Gayantha Karunatillake, Media Minister and State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardena, MP Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Western Province Governor Azath Salley, Northern Governor Dr. Suren Raghawan, Media Ministry Secretary Sunil Samaraweera, Government Media Director General Nalaka Kaluwewa, Additional Secretary of the Media Ministry Ramani Gunawardena, K.P. Jayantha and many media personnel, artistes and distinguished invitees were present on this occasion.