According to Sinhala Daily ADA, of 30th December 2016 Minister Ajith P. Perera has said that nobody, even though one may be the President’s brother has no right to criticize ministers while minister Nimal Siripala De Silva says that civil society organisations and media had no right to criticize politicians or public officials (THE ISLAND 4th January 2017).

According to the dictionary to criticize means to judge or discuss the merits or faults and to scrutinize, to examine in detail with careful or physical attention.  So both ministers mean more or less the same thing.

It has been emphasized time and again that ministers are maintained at great public cost and as such, that they are servants of the public.  The same applies to public officials.  Of course, once placed on that high pedestal, they begin to think that they are demigods.

It is a great pity that ministers of the Yahapalana government have become so bold as to claim that they are above criticism when President Maithripala Sirisena has asked the public to refer to him as President or Janadhipathi and not Honourable President or Athigaru Janadhipathi.  All politicians and public officials must remember that the public and the media have every right to criticisize them without of course defaming them. Ajith P. Perera and Nimal Siripala De Silva are both lawyers who should have known not to make such irresponsible statements.

Whatever the politicians say to their advantage, the general public, social organisations and the media have an inalienable right to criticize erring politicians and public officials and nobody should try to deny it.

S. Abeywickrama