The President said when the government ensures the freedom of the press, the duty of a journalist is to write the truth without giving any space to achieve narrow objectives of some extremist elements.

He emphasised that the new government is fully committed to ensure media freedom and freedom of the country.

He said the new government ended the era of telephoning Editors and dictating headlines

President Sirisena recalled that as a minister he also faced unpleasant and unethical experiences like political leaders telephoning to write against their own ministers in the Cabinet.

The President said an English newspaper published an article last week which contained fabricated facts on his recent visit to New York to attend the UN General Assembly.

He said even though criticism and dialogue were important for good governance, it was necessary to ensure professional standards and ethics.

The President thanked journalists and media institutions for acting prudently when some extremist elements tried to demean the victory of the government at the UNHCR.

President Sirisena presented awards to 10 senior journalists at the event.

A portrait of the President drawn by senior artist Thilak Kalu Liyanage was presented to the President as a souvenir.

Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka, Deputy Minister Karunarathna Paranavithana, Sri Lanka Press Association president Muditha Kariyakarawana, national organiser Upul Janaka Jayasinghe, members of the Sri Lanka Press Association and a group of Indian journalists participated in the event.