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Towards a socially responsible and free media culture

The consultation session on media law and policy

For a better media environment, self regulation could be the best possible method, said Media Minister Dullas Alahapperuma, addressing a recently held gathering of legal and media professionals.

“The Government is definitely in support of establishing professionalism of the media and communication field in an effort inclusive of media personnel, media outlet owners and the civil society organisations,” minister Allahapperuma said.

The minister attended as the chief guest of the Consultation Session on Media Law and Policy organised by the Media Law Forum held at Battaramulla on February 02, 2022. Broadcast and online media personnel, legal experts in media law, experts in media and communication field attended the event. Representatives of the Sri Lanka Press Council, Broadcasters’ Guild of Sri Lanka, Professional Web Journalists Association were present at the event.

Welcoming the distinguished guests, Chairperson of the Media Law Forum Attorney At Law Mr. Viranjana Herath explained the objective of the event and the contribution from the Media Law Forum in promoting media freedom, securing freedom of expression and active involvement in policy decisions affecting media industry ensuring its betterment rather restriction.

Setting the tone of the session, media expert and researcher Mr. Nalaka Gunawardane delivered an elaborative presentation on the Sri Lankan media demography, the development of media law and policies and lessons learnt. The narrative with a wealth of knowledge caught the unwavering attention of the audience. The speech delivered by Mr. Gunawardane covered the history and evolution of the media industry in the country, the current trend and situations and the global positioning of the country with broader opportunities available for the country to be easily connected to the world. The stealth of information in his speech well harmonized the mind sets of the participants to the theme of the event.

Concluding his speech Mr. Gunawardane pointed out that the laws and regulations alone cannot create good humane qualities in a media professional. Responsible media reporting is a result of the respect one has towards the lives of other people and betterment of the society, he emphasized.

A vibrant intellectual discussion emerged during the open forum discussion started following the key presentation. The open forum discussion was moderated by Dr. Ranga Kalansooriya media expert, Asia Pacific region advisor of the International Media Support and former Director General of the Government Information Department.

Enlightening perspectives were expressed by the participants during the open forum discussion on a wider range of concerns.

Advisor to the Media Law Forum, Mr. Jagath Wickramanayake PC, Mr. Prashantha Lal de Alwis PC, Mr. Karu Paranawithana MP, Sri Lanka Press Council Board member Dr. Tudor Weerasinghe, Media expert Shan Wijethunga, Senior Lecturer Madhubhasini Galagedara, actively contributed as resource persons in the discussion.

Mr. Tharindu Jayawardane, Mr. Lahiru Mudalige, Mr. Ajith Perakum, Mr. Arun Arokianathan, Ms. Niranjani Shanmugarajah, Mr. Laksiri Wickramage and several other participants raised questions to the panel of resource persons. Amidst agreements and disagreements, the discussion continued till the end of the two-hour long event.

The media Law Forum held the event strictly adhering to the health guidelines issued by the health authorities ensuring proper social distancing in the seating arrangements, availability of hand sanitizer and facial masks throughout the event.

The Media Law Forum strongly believe that the consultation session would be used as a platform in the future activities of forming media laws, policies, and regulations with the inclusive participation of the members of the media fraternity.

 

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