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SJB MPs urge Speaker to protect freedom of speech

SJB MPs urge Speaker to protect freedom of speech

Fifteen Parliamentarians of SJB met with Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena at the Parliamentary Complex on Wednesday and urged him to ensure the freedom of speech of Parliamentarians.

They also handed over to him a letter stating their request. The letter bears the signatures of Parliamentarians s Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Dr Raitha Senaratne, JC Alawathuwala, Patali Champika Ranawaka, MHA Haleem, Vadivel Suresh, Nalin Bandara Jayamaha, Velu Kumar, Kings Nelson, Manusha Nanayakkara, K. Sujith Perera, S.M. Marikkar, Eran Wickremaratne, Tissa Attanayake, Rishad Bathiudeen and Harshana Rajakaruna. The letter states:

” You are well aware that every Member of Parliament is legally entitled to express his or her views. This right has been legally granted for no other reason than the fact that Parliament is the ultimate institution for Members of Parliament to express their views on behalf of the people as representatives of the people.

However, we have seen the President responding to the statement made by MP Harin Fernando, naming the MP outside the parliament. Studying that whole statement reveals a somewhat threatening form of going against the freedom of speech.

You are aware that the President has the right to come to Parliament and participate in the Sessions of Parliament and to reply to it. We have seen similar statements made by the President’s followers in the state and social media.

We believe that this situation will have a serious impact on the freedom of speech as well as the security of the members of parliament and the democracy of the country.

Therefore, in view of this situation we request you, as the Leader of the House of Representatives and as the person who can work for the freedom of speech and security of life of all Opposition Members of Parliament, to intervene to protect the freedom of speech and the parliamentary privileges of the MPs and safeguard their lives.”

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