SLPI submits media regulation proposal to Minister
The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI), its constituents and affiliated organizations met with the Minister of Mass Media, Keheliya Rambukwella on March 15 to submit an outline of the proposal for a single Authority to monitor the media, including print, radio, television and digital based on self-regulatory principles that will ensure freedom of expression and social responsibility.
The delegation comprised representatives of the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka (NSSL), The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka (TEGOSL), Free Media Movement (FMM), Tamil Media Alliance (TMA), Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMMF), Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Union (FMESTU), South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) and the SLPI.
It is proposed that this new mechanism will repeal the Press Council Act No. 5 of 1973 and bring in amendments to the relevant Acts such as the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation Act, No. 37 of 1966, the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Act, No. 6 of 1982, the Sri Lanka Telecommunication Act, No. 25 of 1991 and the Newspaper Ordinance of Sri Lanka, No. 5 of 1839.
The proposed board of the Authority will comprise media representative from the industry, state representation of media and subject matter experts from Finance, Law, ICT and New Media to ensure that today’s complex media environment is regulated and managed with the relevant expertise. The Authority will ensure adherence of media to a Code of Conduct, hold inquiries on complaints received and of its own observation, issue broadcasting and content licences, registration of media, impose relevant fees, impose licence term, ensure conformity to content licenses impose fines and penalties based on inquiry.
The inquiries based on complaints or on observations of the Authority will be handled through a conciliation, mediation and arbitration process. The Arbitration process will be in accordance with the Arbitration Act No. 11 of 1995 in particular Part V on conduct of arbitration proceedings. Any directives from these processes by the Authority could be appealed in the court of appeal.
The Minister said that he will include SLPI and all stakeholders who have engaged in this process to arrive at an outcome suitable to media and public.
SF claims thousands of police and military personnel leaving
By Saman Indrajith
Thousands of police and military personnel had left the services recently as they did not want to carry out illegal orders, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka told Parliament yesterday. According to the war-winning army commander 200 policemen have resigned during the past two months and 25,000 soldiers have left the army during the last two years.
“We urged the law enforcement and military officials not to follow illegal orders. We will reinstate them with back pay,” he said.
Fonseka also urged the President and the government MPs not to take people for fools.
“Sri Lanka owes 55 billion dollars to the world. Ranil’s plan is to borrow another seven billion during the next four years. So, in four years we will owe 62 billion to the world.
Ranil and his ministers ask us what the alternative to borrowing is. These are the people who destroyed the economy and society. They must leave. Then, we will find an alternative and develop the country,” he said, adding that the IMF loans had made crises in other nations worse.
“Ranil says that by 2025, we will have a budget surplus as in Japan, Germany and South Korea. These countries are economic power houses, and this comparison is ludicrous.”
CEB hit by exodus of technical staff
By Shiran Ranasinghe
At least five technical personnel of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) resigned daily for overseas employment, a senior CEB official said.They included electrical engineers, electricians and foremen, he added.
“Most of them are quitting due to the economic crisis while others are simply disillusioned. Trained and experienced technical staff are in high demand in many countries,” he said.
CEB United Trade Union Alliance President Ranjan Jayalal said that the CEB had lost about 2,000 employees in recent times due to the above reasons.
“We had about 24,000 such personnel a few months ago. Now the number has come down to 22,000. A number of people had to retire on 31 December, 2022.
Sajith questions sudden decision to charge Rs. 225,000 from students following NDES
By Saman Indrajith
The government had decided to charge Rs 225,000 from those enrolling at the Institute of Engineering Technology, Katunayake under the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said yesterday in Parliament.
Premadasa said that the institute awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences (NDES) and no fee was charged from students until 2023.The IET awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences under the three major fields of civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, and eight sub-fields.
“This is an institute that has created over ten thousand tier two engineers. NDES is a four year programme,” he said.
The opposition leader said that the sudden decision to charge 225,000 rupees from students at a time when the average Sri Lankan family is facing significant economic challenges is unfair.
“This institute offered free tuition. We should continue this tradition. A large number of engineers are leaving the country and we need to ensure that we have a continuous supply of engineers to ensure we can maintain our essential technical services,” he said.
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