Freedom of expression, a key right - Civil Society organizations | Daily News

Freedom of expression, a key right - Civil Society organizations

Civil Society organizations which supported President Maithripala Sirisena as the then Common Candidate in 2015, yesterday urged that he should not disrupt the citizen’s freedom of expression.

Speaking in support of their fellow member, Trade Union Leader Saman Ratnapriya, who made a controversial statement on the fate of autocratic rulers recently, they said freedom of expression is the right of the people and they were fighting for that even before President Sirisena became the Common Candidate at the Presidential Election in 2015.

A few organizations, including the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya supporting President Sirisena, had lodged a complaint with the Police against this statement.

National Movement for a Just Society Convener Prof. Sarath Wijesuriya explained that the statement made by Ratnapriya was just an example and therefore, the President has no moral right to undermine the people who are expressing their ideas.

“But, he could response to them if he was not agreeable with those ideas,” Wijesurya said.

“All these incidents are the consequences of the October 26 coup. As citizens, we have a right to speak against it under the democratic framework,” he added.

Purawesi Balaya Organization Co-Convener Gamini Viyangoda pointed out that the freedom of expression is a key right recognized by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Sri Lanka has also agreed.

“The statement of Ratnapriya was just political criticism. He has the right for that,” Viyangoda added.

“Some racist organizations have made this complaint with the police on the sanction of the President. However, it is totally a suppression of the freedom of expression,” Viyangoda said.

Co-Convener of the Purawesi Balaya Organization K.W. Janaranjana also addressed the media.



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