Deputy Minister for Mass Media and Parliamentary ReformsKarunarathna Paranavithana has confirmed that the government is working towards establishing a Press Commission under the leadership of Wijayananda Jayaweera.
Sri Lanka Brief was the first to publish the draft prepared by Jayaweera for enacting a ‘Independent Council for News Media Standards Act’.
Deputy Minister has used the same words in the draft SLB published: New legislation would be titled ‘Independent Council for News Media Standards Act’, he has told state controlled Daily News.
He has further said that said several roundtable discussions with media owners, journalists and journalists’ associations would be held shortly to come to an agreement on the legislation, prior to making the official draft.
The Media Ministry would soon establish a separate section called ‘Social Media Development Section’ to deal with social media related issues, according the Paranavithana.
In an interview with Ceylon Today Director-General of Government Information Dr. Ranga Kalansooriya too has confirmed that the government will soon establish a Media Commission, which will come into effect by June this year.
“The aim of the proposed Media Commission, while protecting journalists and Editors, would also be to regulate the social media and subjects such as hate speech, defamation and other criteria, which are perceived to be preventing ethnic harmony, Dr. Kalansooriya has told Ceylon Today.
He has made it clear the intention is to regulate socail media: “There is an alarming trend, even internationally, of people using instruments such as Facebook to publish false propaganda for which they get paid for publishing malicious information which will be defamatory and that was what we are trying to guard against.”