Several key media issues discussed in Parliament

September 19, 2023 at 12:55 PM

Heads of media organizations addressing the Sectoral Oversight Committee on An Open & Accountable Government held at the Parliament recently, stated that not being able to get accurate information expeditiously from government institutions is a major obstacle in bringing accurate news closer to the people.

They pointed out that even the good development programs by the government have failed to go to the people, especially because some press secretaries have not done the coordination in a proper way.

Thus, the Committee recommended that the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Mass Media Mr. E.M.S.B Jayasundara to pay special attention to this matter and prepare a related program.

These matters were discussed when the Committee met under the Chairmanship of Jagath Kumara Sumithraarachchi, Member of Parliament. This Committee met to obtain the ideas and suggestions from the heads of media organizations to build a better future in an open and responsible government. Many heads of media organizations representing electronic and print media attended the Committee meeting held.

Appreciating the role played by the media for the proper functioning of democracy, the Committee Chair pointed out that the Committee will provide the necessary recommendations and maximum support to solve the existing problems and obstacles faced by the journalists and media institutions.

Attention was also paid to the establishment of a training institute to produce professional journalists. The secretary said that a Bill is currently being prepared in this regard. The Committee instructed to implement the said work without delay. Furthermore, the secretary said that a committee is in operation to prepare a media policy and the heads of media organizations are invited to submit their ideas.

Also, in the problematic situation faced by the print media, matters were also discussed about the possibility of the government providing some relief for materials such as ink and paper.

The heads of state media organizations also pointed out the difficulties of doing coverage work for free as the state electronic and print institutions are currently generating their own income without depending on the treasury. They also pointed out that there is a misconception that free publicity can be obtained through state media and they cannot continue to run these institutions by doing so. Thus, they also pointed out the need to intervene in this regard. Accordingly, the Committee Chair said that the Committee will intervene to make a recommendation on this regard.

Attention was also paid to crime reporting. The need for media ethics in reporting crime in electronic and print media was emphasized.

Furthermore, the establishment of an independent institution with transparency to rate media channels, the establishment of a fund to ensure the economic and social security of journalists, the establishment of the right of journalists to report without hindrance, the need to amend existing laws regarding the regulation of social media related to wrong information, and the need to amend the existing laws in granting media licenses were also discussed here.

According to this, the recommendations related to this discussion are expected to be submitted to the government through the Parliament, said the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Jagath Kumara Sumithraarachchi.