Establishing an effective media commission and an Independent Broadcasting Commission is crucial to uphold media principles particularly in the private media sector, said Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe. He emphasised the need for the state-owned media to practice unbiased reporting.
“Today, the State media and large media houses pose a threat to media freedom,” the Premier added.
“The state must actively promote and strengthen civil society which was subjected to suppression in the last decade,” the Premier said. He emphasised the need to create a culture where democratic institutions flourish.
He was delivering the Sujata Jayawardena memorial oration organised by the Alumni Organisation of the Colombo University on “Strengthening Democratic Institutions”.
Comparing the current situation with the past decade, Premier Wickremesinghe added that the media, being intimidated and eliminated was a striking feature of a totalitarian society said he. Commenting on the political culture that existed in the last decade, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe added that it was the social media which played a huge role in ensuring the right to report when the conventional media failed.
He elaborated on safeguarding these democratic organisations by establishing a layer consisting of members selected from civil society who were not affiliated to political parties. This layer should be powered to advise Parliament and the Government and refer Bills back for reconsideration by Parliament.
“Similarly, laws must also ensure that civil society should not promote ethnic and religious disharmony or promote violence,” he added.
by Dhaneshi Yatawara