The government is planning to brand anyone among the 22 million Sri Lankans as terrorists at its will for political reasons by replacing the PTA with an anti-terrorism act that goes against democracy and is slavish, charged opposition leader Sajith Premadasa today (03).

He was speaking to heads of media institutions at Hotel Mandarin in Colombo at a briefing held in view of World Press Freedom Day.

Premadasa said parties in the opposition are having a common understanding on several key issues, including opposing the ATA bill as well as the bill on a broadcasting authority, through which the government aims to control the media.

He said he hoped to engage with the media in a progressive dialogue in order to add value to the country to be rebuilt as the number one in every sphere.

Also speaking here, SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem said there was no need for the ATA, stressing that emergency regulations are more than enough to deal with any arising issues.

The government is trying to go beyond the existing PTA for its own protection, he charged.

Prof. G.L. Peiris told the meeting that the public should be told the truth about key issues, and spoke at length about the matter of compensation from the X-Press Pearl maritime disaster.

MPs Gevindu Kumaratunga and Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera also spoke.



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