(UDHAYAM, COLOMBO) – Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga expressed regret yet stood by his behaviour yesterday where he had threatened a journalist.
In a statement on Friday (09) Minister Amaratunga said a meeting was held at his private residence 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,” he said.
The Minister said that during the meeting some “uninvited individuals” who called themselves journalists were continuously interrupting the discussion and insulting both the President and the 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,” he said.
The Minister said that as any human being would react he 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,” he said.
Minister Amaratunga said that 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.
He says the 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,” the Minister said.