Media must respect vulnerable groups in the exercise of their functions – Minister

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Mass Media Minister Dullas Alaopheruma urged the media to be careful and considerate when reporting issues on children, women’s issues, mental health and people with disabilities, making sure they do not are never endangered, humiliated or inconvenienced. Therefore, he called on news outlets and media unions to join the Media Ministry in a collective dialogue to formulate principles and guidelines to help journalists cover these issues in a way that enables them to serve public interest without compromising the rights of these vulnerable groups.

The minister also suggested that all media outlets, unions and the ministry come together and formulate a set of media ethics through collective discussion similar to some of the international media institutions such as the BBC, Time Warner. and News Corp. However, he insisted that these media guidelines should not infringe media freedom. “We could also include new angles of reporting in the media, such as reporting on issues related to children, people with disabilities, mental health issues, women’s issues, and so on. example to others, ”he noted.

He said that during his tenure as Minister of Media, he intends to ensure that the media industry in this country is raised to meet modern challenges and changes.

As a result, he said the greatest achievement was to be able to establish the Chartered Institute of Journalists in Sri Lanka during my short 98-day tenure as Minister of Media.

“It is with great pleasure that I announce that Cabinet approval has been obtained to establish a school of journalism affiliated with the Chartered Institute of Journalists so that journalists can take consistently formulated courses. In my opinion, the biggest challenge facing our journalists is the lack of proper training. Although functional literacy is at a higher level in the country, in the area of ​​the media, I think it is at a rather low level. Therefore, with such a level of functional literacy in the field of media, the inconveniences and damage it could cause far outweigh the benefits. Therefore, it is vital to increase the level of functional literacy in the field of media. To this end, we plan to create media circles targeting 5,000 O / L and A / L students and affiliate them with the Chartered Institute of Journalists, ”noted Minister Alaopheruma.

He said the aim is to educate the younger generation on good media literacy to ensure a future generation who knows how to use the media meaningfully and responsibly.

The minister said that as a young journalist he had dreamed with ambition of winning the Pulitzer Prize and enthusiastically followed the work of those who had won the prize.

He said, however, that it was unfortunate that in Sri Lanka there were no such awards for recognition or appreciation of journalists. However, he said it was a great privilege and accomplishment for him to be able to create such appreciation for journalists during his tenure as Minister.

The media minister also said that the government had taken steps to provide journalists with a free “Asi-disi” insurance scheme. He noted that the government had introduced the Asi-disi insurance scheme to encourage journalists and provide them with protection. “This insurance scheme will be launched on December 2, that is to say in a week, under the high patronage of the President and the Prime Minister. As Minister, I would like to express my gratitude to the Minister of Finance, for allocating funds to support this initiative, to the President and Prime Minister for their support and encouragement to make this a reality and my predecessors, Bandula Gunawardena and Keheliya Rambukwella.

Minister Alaaderuma also noted that while the field of media is developing rapidly in many new ways, the laws that exist under the Ministry of Media are quickly becoming obsolete. “Therefore, in order to update these laws so that media institutions can be turned into for-profit entities, we got Cabinet approval last Tuesday (23). Take for example the Postal Law, it was formulated 113 years ago and was last updated in 1973. Similarly, the Broadcasting Law dates from 1967 and the Printing and Printing Law. the publications (declaration and registration) date from 1973. Therefore, these laws must be amended and updated in order to meet current requirements, ”he added.

The Minister of Media also paid special tribute to the postal service for rendering a silent service to society which often goes unnoticed. He pointed out that without the postal service, many people would not have been able to get the medicines they need. Yet their services have never been appreciated or recognized.

He also proposed the development of the state printing press to allow all matters of state printing to be handled by them. In addition, the Minister expressed his gratitude to President and Deputy Seetha Arambepola for allowing the transfer of the National School of Printing, the only one in the country under the Ministry of Media.

He said that although plans were made to digitize the television transmission network in 2014 and complete the project by 2021, it had not even taken off until now. “However, we started this project with the help of the Japanese government and it should be completed within four years.”

The media minister also called on media covering parliamentary debates not to focus solely on violence and instability and to prioritize meaningful philosophical issues.


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