The Government always stands by media freedom as well as ethical and responsible reporting. We must remember that unregulated freedom can be harmful to society, Government Information Department Director General Prof. Ariyarathna Athugala said.
"Moreover, unalloyed media freedom does not exist anywhere in the world, including even the world's so called largest democracies, such as the US," he remarked.
He observed that cases of misuse of media freedom are very common today, adding that the public has been unable to discern the correct position amidst a plethora of alternative opinions dispersed by the media.
"The prevalence of media pluralism in contemporary Sri Lanka is a clear sign of improved media freedom in the country, at a time when media freedom is coming under attack in a growing number of countries around the world," Prof. Athugala said.
He observed that the overflowing number of media outlets in the country indicates that there is no media censorship, adding that there is ample room for the presence of a range of voices and perspectives in media outlets.
Commenting on a recent survey report on press freedom by a U.S. based Non-Governmental Organization, he observed it is seen lately that media freedom is being used as a tool by certain organizations backed by the Western world to bully Sri Lanka in the international arena. He observed there had been no substantial evidence to claim that media freedom is declining in the country over the past few years.
"Some sections attempt to exaggerate isolated incidents," he said. Kelaniya University Mass Communication Department Head Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa said Sri Lanka stands ahead of many countries in terms of media pluralism, adding that progressive steps have been taken to improve the situation of media freedom in Sri Lanka over the past few years.
He said as Sri Lanka is gradually rising after a 30 year disastrous war, the situation of Sri Lanka should be considered special, adding that it is not fair to judge Sri Lanka under general guidelines.
He said rather than just stressing on media freedom, equal attention should be given to media responsibility as well. He said media professionalism, research and literacy should be further improved in Sri Lanka.