The government said yesterday that a regulatory mechanism for the electronic media would be introduced soon.
Deputy Media Minister Karunaratne Paranavithana addressing the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing in Colombo said that both the print and electronic media had all the right to publish or broadcast the truth, but some electronic media were abusing the new found journalistic freedom under the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration.
The freedom of the wild ass canno’t not be permitted in a civilized society, he noted ” Regulations to monitor the electronic media would be introduced after wide consultations.”
Paranavithana said that the right to freedom of expression did not mean that journalists could pursue their personal or political agendas by distorting the truth and slandering people without any basis.
President Maithripala Sirisena addressing the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission(TRC) on Tuesday said that the electronic media was duty bound to provide correct information as the frequencies given to them were in effect public property.
The Government would effect amendments to rectify loopholes in the Telecommunications Regulatory Act, he added.
Srisena also pledged to eliminate fraud and corruption at the TRC.
by Zacki Jabbar
EMA not to stifle media freedom: Dy Minister
The proposed ‘Electronic Media Authority’ (EMA) is meant only to regularize the functions and operation of the electronic media keeping abreast with the latest trends, and not to suppress media freedom, Deputy Mass Media and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Karunaratne Paranawitana said.
The Deputy Minister said the proposed EMA did not intend to restrict the freedom or monitor electronic media institutions but regularize their functions and operation to suit the modern day needs.
“We have a Press Council and the Press Institute to monitor print media or entertain complaints against the print media institutions like in any other country. The other purpose is to introduce most modern and up to date technology to the local electronic media to keep breast with the global trends in the field,” Deputy Minister Paranawithana stressed and added the government did not want to take any action to affect the media freedom.
Mr. Paranawithana said the necessary laws would be presented in Parliament to establish the EMA after consulting all stakeholders to the electronic media including the entire media and the print media in particular, print media operators, the public, political parties, social organizations and professionals.
Meanwhile, President Maithripala Sirisena told electronic media magnates that the electronic media institutions must always give the truth to their viewers and listeners and not distort, sensationalize or exaggerate information.
“You must always keep in your mind that the frequencies allocated to you by the government are the assets of the people. Therefore, it is your responsibility to use your frequencies for the benefit of the people and the country through disseminating correct and useful information in a responsible manner,” President Sirisena emphasized.
President Sirisena expressed his disapproval and regret over the violation of the law and guidelines issued to electronic media institutions when using of their frequencies.
President Sirisena instructed Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRCSL) officials to introduce amendments to the TRCSL Act to give more legal teeth to the Commission to prevent misuse of frequencies given to electronic media institutions and added the it was the responsibility of all media institutions to use the new media freedom for the betterment of the public, the nation and the country. (Sandun A Jayasekera)