Vasu Says "Good" NGOs Should Be Allowed To Interact With Media

Commenting on the ban imposed by the government on NGO press conferences Social Integration Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said the NGOs who operate within their mandate should be allowed to interact with media without any obstacle.

 " If they are within their mandates there should not be any problem in holding public briefings and press conferences" the Minister told Asian Mirror while adding that he is a staunch supporter of freedom of media.

" I do not agree with acts that diverge from democracy", he said.  

The order, sent widely to civil society groups by the Sri Lankan government earlier this month, said all NGOs should refrain from “unauthorized activities with immediate effect”.

A group of 30 private charities and other organizations on Wednesday announced an alliance — called the Civil Society Collective to Protect Civil Society Space — to resist the restrictions.

The US government also expressed concern at the crackdown on NGOs. “We strongly urge the government of Sri Lanka to allow civil society organizations and NGOs, which play a vital role in supporting Sri Lanka’s democratic values, to operate freely,” the State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in Colombo.

Last August, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay accused Sri Lanka of becoming “increasingly authoritarian” which stirred this issue again.

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