He said there was no point in castigating the page one news stories in newspapers as they were on real incidents that took place in the country.
"The front-page carries the highlights of what happens in the country; they be accidents, crimes or other incidents. The front pages of newspapers mirror social reality. The proposal to rent vehicles for Parliamentarian at a cost of Rs. 700,000 each has now been halted due to public opinion against the move created by the media. If not, the government would have gone ahead with the proposal," MP Dissanayake said, participating in the third reading stage debate on budget 2017 under the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media.
Dissanayake said those responsible for the assassinations of journalists, attacks on journalists and media organisations over the past dark era should be brought to justice. He observed the media suppression had reached an all-time high during the previous regime.
"All media institutions are driven by political agendas. A considerable number of them are supportive of corrupt elements. For example, when we revealed about the Avant Garde, many media institutions except for one or two newspaper outlets did not carry it, but they carried the full page advertisements of Avant Garde. Thus some media organisations are protecting the corrupt. The capital of some media organisations which started recently came from those who misused public funds," he said.
He said the CSN channel was set up with the wealth of corrupt individuals and its land should be taken over by the UDA.
The government should pay urgent attention to salary issues of journalists, Dissanayake said.
He said media personnel including freelance journalists were mostly underpaid and had not even received the Rs. 2,500 salary increment.