COLOMBO: Feb. 7, Reuter: Sri Lankan President Junius Jaywardene said he would never muzzle the press but that the government might withhold advertisements from any newspaper that unfairly criticizes it.

Jayewardene said in a speech that his government had ensured that citizens enjoyed their freedom but stressed there were limitations.

“For example, one should not cause pain or hindrance to a fellow citizen while enjoying one’s freedom, It is with a view to ensuring human freedom that this government has allowed the freedom of the press”, he said in yesterday’s speech, which was published today.

He said, “If any newspaper unfairly critics the government, the latter may withhold advertisements to it. But we will certainly not interfere with the freedom of the newspaper to freely express its news”.

“The press has the freedom to criticize the government because there cannot be democracy without the freedom of the press. Even in criticizing one should not abuse others”.

His remarks came on the same day police went to the office of the Sun and demanded the newspaper hand over the original of a letter to the editor and disclose the author’s address.

Independent News Limited, the Sun’s publisher, said in the paper today that the police officers also wanted to know why and how editorials were written.

The Sun wrote an editorial based on the letter to the editor published on January 9. Both were critical of the public administration ministry.

A few days ago police questioned the editor of Aththa, a procommunist party newspaper, on some of its stories.

Article extracted from this publication >>  February 13, 1987