Colombo, June 9 (newsin.asia) – Sri Lanka’s Tourism Minister, John Amaratunga, who ran himself into controversy recently by allegedly threatening a local journalist, on Friday said he regretted the incident and urged the media to act more responsibly.
Videos of Amaratunga lashing out at a local journalist after he was asked a controversial question went viral, especially since the Minister was seen and heard using abusive language.
The reporter was also thrown out of the Minister’s house in Kandana where he came out after attending a meeting.
The full statement released by the Minister’s Office is reproduced below –
This refers to the ‘incident’ which took place at my private residence in Kandana on Sunday 8th June 2017.
A meeting was held to discuss issues faced by area residents with regard to the garbage disposal issue. No journalists were invited for the meeting as it was strictly a discussion between the area residents and me, the Member of Parliament representing that area.
During the meeting some uninvited individuals who called themselves journalists were continuously interrupting the discussion and insulting both HE the President and the Hon. Prime Minister.
Despite this I maintained my composure and successfully concluded the meeting.
As the meeting ended and I was leaving the premises these individuals tried their best to drag me in to an argument by continuously asking provocative questions even though I answered them initially.
As any human being would react I told them to stop asking such questions as they were clearly unaware of the real facts pertaining to the garbage issue in the area.
It then became clear to me that these so-called journalists who were trespassing on my private property were pursuing a hidden agenda. That is when I was compelled to ask them to leave.
It is pertinent to note that the new found press freedom is being abused by a section of the media who have no respect for the truth or basic decency. These so-called journalists are tarnishing the good image of the established media through their reckless actions.
While regretting the way things turned out, I hope the media will act responsibly to protect the new found freedom which we have fought and won for them.
– Hon. John Amaratunga, Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs