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China trying to influence SL media

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US State Department funded study says…

In a new report, titled ‘Beijing’s Global Media Influence: Authoritarian Expansion and the Power of Democratic Resilience’, Freedom House said that the Chinese party-state’s media influence efforts intensified in Sri Lanka during the period of 2019-21.Freedom House is a non-profit organization primarily funded by USAID and the U.S. State Department.

Among the key findings of the report are: “Increased influence efforts amid political change: The Chinese party-state’s media influence efforts intensified during the coverage period of 2019-21. Pro-Beijing influencers have increased their activities in the social media space—particularly their outreach to younger Sri Lankans—and new agreements with elites, including in the think tank space, have shaped conversations in the media. The return of the Rajapaksa family to power in 2020 and protests ousting them in 2022 increased restrictions on press freedom and attacks on journalists.

“Mixed public response: China is sometimes viewed as a friendly power that can act as a balancing force against Western influence and which provided much needed COVID-19 aid. At the same time, public backlash and concern over its economic influence has grown since a Chinese state-run company was awarded a 99-year lease to Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port in 2017.

“Close ties with elites:

High-level ties between the Sri Lankan and Chinese governments have led to political and business leaders parroting Chinese propaganda points, in both domestic and international forums, including on adopting the Chinese governance model and the human rights situation in Xinjiang. State-owned paper Daily News, national business paper the Daily FT, and some elite-run cultural organizations and think tanks have been consistent vessels for Chinese state content and narratives.

“Aggressive diplomatic push on social media:

Chinese diplomats have adopted “wolf-warrior” tactics, regularly pushing back against criticism on social media platforms. Chinese diplomatic accounts in Sri Lanka have also benefited from amplification by fake accounts.

“China Radio International:

China Radio International has content targeted to Sri Lankan audiences in the dominant local language Sinhala on FM radio. It is also available in both Sinhala and Tamil on social media, with over 1.4 million followers for one of the Sinhala accounts.

“Social media influencers target youth:

Since 2020 especially, Facebook influencers affiliated with Chinese state media have increasingly pushed content targeting young adults in local languages including Sinhala. These accounts have up to 1.2 million followers and promote content that showcases the positive, apolitical sides of China while occasionally pushing pro-Chinese Communist Party content. Social media platforms have struggled to keep up with labeling them as Chinese state-controlled sources.

“Embassy efforts to silence criticism:

Journalists and news outlets in Sri Lanka that report unfavourably on the Chinese government or its involvement in the country have been pressured by the Chinese embassy or other Chinese state-linked actors into issuing apologies or removing content. Such incidents have contributed to some self-censorship among journalists.

“No local Chinese-language media:

There is no local Chinese-language media, reflective of the small size of the Chinese diaspora in the country.

“Limited China expertise but growing civil society attention: Sri Lanka has limited expertise on domestic Chinese politics and Chinese Communist Party influence mechanisms. However, there is a vibrant press freedom community and a growing contingent among civil society drawing attention to Chinese state propaganda, covert social media manipulation, and infrastructure projects involving China such as the Colombo Port City. Media literacy is relatively high in the country, serving as another buffer to Chinese state influence.

“Media self-regulation gaps:

Media professionalism in Sri Lanka is notably low, with little culture of investigative reporting. There is, however, a growing number of journalist training and government initiatives to tackle these gaps.

“Lack of safeguards against political influence:

While there are laws enhancing ownership transparency and limiting foreign ownership, there are no laws against cross- ownership and partisan ownership, putting Sri Lankan media at risk of undue political influence—especially given strong governmental ties with China and the tendency for media outlets to have political affiliations. The government has also intensified its targeting of journalists in recent years, increasing the risk of self-censorship on perspectives that counter the government line.”



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WASTE PLASTIC.. PAVING WAY FOR STRONGER ROADS

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AGC Innovate secures First Place

AGC Innovate (Pvt) Ltd has been selected as the winner of the Country Finals of Innovate Lanka 2022 Competition, organized by the Lankan Angel Network together with SLASSCOM and the Council for Startups. The Winner AGC International and the Runner – Up will be representing Sri Lanka at the Entrepreneurship World Cup 2023 hosted by the Global Entrepreneurship Network GEN. They will also access opportunities with Accelerators & Incubators as Indian Accelerator, Sri Lanka Accelerator, Venture Frontiers etc.

AGC Innovate (Pvt) Ltd has won this prestigious award for their innovative product Plastic Modified Asphalt Concrete (PMAC) the sustainable solution to the ever-increasing waste plastic environmental menace by utilizing green technology to convert waste plastics into an industrial raw material which becomes a stronger and more effective alternative to conventional asphalt, used for Highway, Road and Car Park paving.

The program operates in a sustainable tri-partite stakeholder model comprising Generator, Technology Provider and End User, in which the country and the environment gains benefit when the industries, supermarket chains, households, etc. who are waste plastic Generators meet the End User by using the Technology Provider’s scientific innovation to convert non-recyclable plastic waste to produce the end product Plastic Modified Asphalt Concrete PMAC to be used for Road, Highway and Yard Paving.

The technology piloted in 2018 under the supervision of the national regulator, RDA on a stretch of highway in Ratmalana, has been certified as an environmentally suitable initiative following more than two years of rigorous testing and observation has also received CEA Certification and is registered with the National Intellectual Property Agency of Sri Lanka.

The technology has been successfully used during the past three years by leading Supermarket chains for their car-parks, Roads under the Western & Eastern Provincial Road Development Authorities, Foreign Embassies, mega export-oriented factory yards, and leading business houses who emphasize on reducing the carbon footprint and bring a logical solution to terrestrial, riverine and ocean pollution caused by waste plastic.

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Young man who produced air rifle with knowhow gathered from YouTube arrested!

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By R.A.S. Premathilake

Wadduwa Police on Wednesday evening arrested a youth who had produced an airgun by watching YouTube videos.The airgun was four feet in length, the police said.

The suspect is a 28-year-old resident of Thalpitiya, Wadduwa. The suspect had also crafted a scope for the air gun, the police said.

The suspect had been trying to make the airgun more powerful, the police said.He has also been shooting cats with the weapon, Wadduwa police said.

The man was arrested on the instructions of SDIG Deshabandu Tennakoon, DIG Sarath Sandanayaka, SSP Samantha Wedage, ASPs Nishantha Senarathne and Jayanetti. Wadduwa OIC CI Chaminda Kumara, IP Terney Jansz and SI NIssanka led the raid.

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Moves to make Batticaloa one of the best tourist destinations next year

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A discussion was held recently at the President’s Office yeas morning under the chairmanship of President Ranil Wickremesinghe to identify land for the promotion of the tourism industry in the Batticaloa District.

The identification of coastal lands belonging to the state and private sector from Werugal-aru to Batticaloa in the Batticaloa District was taken up for discussion.Seveal Divisional Secretaries including the Batticaloa District Secretary K. Karunaharan joined the discussion via Zoom.

President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Staff to the President, Sagala Ratnayaka, Senior Economic Adviser to the President Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Lands W.A. Chulananda Perera, Secretary of the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation R.M.C.M. Herath and heads of line institutions participated in this discussion.

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