Mar 26, 2018

"Sagala is right. Govt. propaganda, a total failure"

Sagala Ratnayake’s statement is accurate and the government failed to get maximum exposure for the work done for the people, said the Professional Journalists Association Convener Freddie Gamage.  

Gamage said this with regard to a query on the statement made by Project Management, Youth Affairs and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayake that although the government had initiated over 55,000 projects spending Rs. One million per project, it had failed in taking this message to the people.

Gamage noted that while the government is boasting about its direction towards a digitalization, they are still using age old mediums which are more expensive and least used by people such as newspapers, Television and Radio.

He noted that while there are around 5 million smart phone users in the country, the government had failed to make use of this cost effective mode to derive greater benefits during the past three years.
He said that it has been proved that this government has failed in terms of using social media effectively, while adding that his association was willing to assist the government rectify these shortcomings.

He said as much as they criticize the faults of the government, his association would also not hesitate to talk about the productive initiatives taken by the government.

Meanwhile, Gamage said his association had held talks with a prominent minister recently, it was noticed that while this was a ministry that had done a great deal of work, not a cent was allocated for social media campaigns in their advertising expenses.

However, having educated the minister on the effectiveness of social media campaigning, he had understood its significance and focused his attention to the issue.
Upon Sri Lanka Mirror’s inquiry, it was found that most of the ministries fail to engage in social media campaigning due to the age old practices of the ministry secretaries.

Further, these secretaries do not want to lose the commissions they receive in advertising in newspapers, television and radio.

Extensive promotion required to reach the grass roots level

Further adding to the shortfalls in government promotional activities on its budget programme and rural infrastructure development activities, “Last two years we spent a million each and initiated 55,000 projects but the people are unaware of it. This is a real tragedy. The other issue is that we had not even erected a hoarding in this regard.
Now there is a greater need to take our message to the rural communities. But the issue is that there is no proper mechanism to take the governemnt’s policies to the rural people.
It is already too late, but its better late than never.

We need to let the people know of what we are doing and the value of these projects that we have initiated. This is a contest and we need to equip ourselves to face this challenge.”
Minister Vajira Abeywardena, PM’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake, secretary to the Finance Ministry Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunge, Project Management, Youth Affairs and Southern Development Ministry Secretary H.M. Gamini Seneviratne, PM Additional Secretary Saman Athaudahetti participated.