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National Council sub-committee avoids web journalists!

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The professional web journalists were left out of a crucial discussion held yesterday (15) by the National Council sub-committee on identifying short-and medium-term programs related to economic stabilization, the Professional Web Journalists Association of Sri Lanka alleged.

Its Convener Freddy Gamage told the Sri Lanka Mirror that the sub-committee informed him to join the discussion at around 3.00 pm the day before the discussion (14).

He had informed the organisers that he would not be able to participate in the discussion that was scheduled to be held the next day (15) at 10:00 am because he could not come without any preparation and because he had to take part in a pre-scheduled discussion.

He said that it is doubtful whether this was done in a planned manner and added that the government continues to avoid the issues of professional web journalists.

He said former minister Champika Ranawaka may also have been misled by some group.

Mr. Gamage said the only website that won a Presidential Award is also a member of his association, and that a large number of websites registered at the Ministry of Mass Media are members of his association.

He also said that his association has a history of over 10 years.

This discussion was held yesterday (15) under the chairmanship of MP Ranawaka to discuss the plights faced by media organizations in the current economic crisis followed by solutions and proposals.

It was also revealed that due to the power cuts during the prime time, the number of commercials received by TV stations has decreased and in the current economy, they have to bear high costs for the production of programs.

Journalists representing newspapers pointed out that due to the increase in production costs including the shortage of paper, there has been a major setback in the publishing industry including newspapers.

They pointed out that because of this situation, the pages of the newspapers had to be limited and the prices increased. They said that due to the reduction of newspaper pages, there is no space for the news by the regional journalists and they have not even been able to make payments.

It was also revealed that it is difficult to even pay salaries to the permanent staff of some newspaper organizations. They also pointed out that in this situation newspaper printing has decreased by 60%-70%.

Thus, newspaper journalists pointed out that the circulation of newspapers among the people has been greatly reduced due to economic issues, non-publication of local news, etc.

In addition to the economic crisis, it was also revealed that the newspaper and radio have to face a big challenge due to the current digital media trends including social media.

It was further expressed that the government should make a joint effort to reach one goal by all media organizations to prepare the people to face the current crisis situation. Attention was drawn to the need to act in the same way that the media acted in times like the tsunami disaster, defeating terrorism and overcoming the Covid-19 crisis.

Paying attention to all these comments and suggestions, the committee chairman said that based on these facts, he is expected to include the proposals related to the media sector in the next report and submit them to the National Council.

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No COVID-19 deaths yesterday

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No COVID-19 deaths have been confirmed yesterday (29) by the Director-General of Health Services.

Accordingly, the current COVID-19 death toll remains at 16,828.

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Racecourse murder : Boyfriend further remanded

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The university student who was held in remand custody for allegedly murdering his girlfriend with a sharp weapon at Race Course grounds in Colombo has been remanded further.

Taking up the case today (30) Colombo Chief Magistrate Prasanna Alwis ordered him to be further remanded till February 13.

The magisterial inquest into the death was held today before Colombo Chief Magistrate and

A testimony of the deceased’s father was recorded before Chief Magistrate and further magisterial inquiry was fixed for February 13.

The suspect was not produced before Court by prison authorities since he is currently receiving treatment at the Mental Health Unit of prison hospital.

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Constitutional Council approves several judicial appointments

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The Constitutional Council met today (30) in Parliament presided by Speaker and the Chairman of the Constitutional Council – Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Sajith Premadasa, Leader of the Opposition, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, MPs Sagara Kariyawasam, other council members Dr. Prathap Ramanujam, Dr. (Mrs) Dilkushi Anula Wijesundere, Dr. (Mrs) Dinesha Samararatne were present at the Council meeting held.

MP Kabir Hashim, had informed his inability to attend this meeting due to unavoidable circumstances.

The Constitutional Council considered the recommendation of the President to appoint K.P. Fernando, President of the Court of Appeal as a Judge of the Supreme Court, to the post which fell vacant with the retirement of L.T.B. Dehideniya, Judge of the Supreme Court. The Constitutional Council unanimously approved the above recommendation.

Further the Constitutional Council unanimously approved the nomination of N.B.P.D.S. Karunarathna, Judge of the Court of Appeal to be appointed as the President of the Court of Appeal, and the nomination of Mr M.A.R. Marikkar, High Court Judge to be appointed as a Judge of the Court of Appeal to the resultant vacancies.  

The Constitutional Council further decided to publish the advertisement on newspapers of 1st February 2023, calling for applications for the appointment as Members of the Commissions specified in Schedule to Article 41B of the Constitution. Draft format of the application would be published on the Official Parliament website. The deadline to submit applications is 15th February 2023.

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