Saturday, May 08, 2010

Sri Lanka: Muddle over media

Courtesy of YA TV

By Sumaiya Rizvi - Amid confusion and conflicting reports, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella assumed duties yesterday saying it was up to the President and not Deputy Media Minister Mervin Silva to decide whether he remained in his post or resigned from it.

“My friend Mervin cannot decide if he is to continue to be my Deputy. That is for the President to decide. You will know what happens in the next few days,” the minister said.

Earlier Minister Rambukwella had told Daily Mirror that Mr. Silva had on Wednesday resigned from his post as the deputy minister of mass media and communication and had been sworn in as Deputy

Mervyn moving out

Minister of highways. Mr. Silva was sworn in on Wednesday as Deputy Minister of Highways, the day that Mr. Rambukwella took oaths as the new Media Minister.

The president's office on Wednesday confirmed to Daily Mirror that Mr. Silva had handed over his resignation from his post as deputy media minister and it had been accepted by the president.

Mr. Silva denied he had resigned and said that as the deputy minister for media he planned to improve the media culture in Sri Lanka.

But Minister Rambukwella said there was nothing wrong with the media culture in Sri Lanka.

“We don’t have to change it. We can’t boss the media around with a ruler. The media are mature and responsible enough to judge for themselves on how they should act,” he said.

Meanwhile Mr. Silva telephoned the Daily Mirror office on Thursday to inquire about the condition of senior Daily Mirror journalist Sandun Jayasekara who had been assaulted while on an official assignment on Wednesday.

He said he was sorry about what had happened.

Giving up media portfolio

Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva, denying reports of a disagreement between the media minister and himself, said he had voluntarily resigned from the post of deputy media minister since his advisory committee of experts thought it was best he stuck to the highways ministry.

“I am ready to give up my chair at anytime if only the President asks me to. Not for anyone else. But my committee of experts deems fit that I focus on the highways ministry and therefore they decided that it’s best I resign,” Mr. Silva said adding that he had sent his resignation to the President last evening.

However, deputy minister Silva said he had no malice

Mervyn Silva says gave up media portfolio

against media minister Keheliya Rambuwella and said he took to the podium in support of the minister during the past elections.

He further said he was happy to be under the President than anyone else. He said it was easy for him to give up on his chair because he was not going to keep anything he was not going to perform well.

When the Daily Mirrror asked if Minister Keheliya Rambukwella had prior knowledge of his resignation since he told the Daily Mirror online that Silva handed over his resignation to the President on Wednesday as confirmed by the Presidential secretariat Mr. Silva denied the move. “I don’t have to answer all the questions that are directed at me,” he said.

Silva said last evening at the Media ministry that he was sad to leave the ministry since he had many plans and changes in store for the betterment of journalists.

© Daily Mirror

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