Connect with us

News

Opposition unanimously rejects new media law

Published

on

Opposition political parties have unanimously decided to oppose the proposal to introduce legislation to establish a Broadcasting Regulatory Commission in the country

The executive council of the opposition led by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya made a special statement unanimously to oppose and defeat the Broadcasting Authority Act to be brought by the current government with the aim of destroying the remaining part of the country’s democracy and to take the maximum possible measures to defeat it inside and outside the parliament and in the courts, said Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said on Monday (5).

The special opposition subcommittee appointed to study the discuss the proposed  Broadcasting Regulatory Commission legislation met on Monday (5).

The special opposition subcommittee led by Professor Charitha Herath also includes Imthiaz Bakeer Marker, Gayantha Karunathilake, Dr. Harsha De Silva and Eran Wickramaratne.

Minister of Justice Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that the proposed Broadcasting Regulatory Commission legislation that grants statutory power to imprison journalists, impose fines on them, and to even revoke the licenses issued to broadcasters, will be discussed with the media institutions on the 7th of June 2023.

The drafting of the legislation establishing a ‘Broadcast Authority’ was carried out by a cabinet appointed subcommittee, led by Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.

What is the new piece of legislation that Sri Lanka is trying to introduce for the media?

According to the document prepared by the Cabinet-appointed Subcommittee led by Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, something very serious is being prepared with regard to the media.

It proposes for the establishment of a Broadcasting Regulatory Commission consisting of five members, the commission will appoint its own investigating committee.

If reports detriment to national security, national economy, and public order, are published by broadcasters, the Broadcasting Regulatory Commission will be able to revoke and temporarily suspend the license of the broadcaster.

In addition, the Investigating Committee of the Broadcasting Regulatory Commission will have the power to obtain a court order and raid media institutions.

If the proposed legislation is passed in its original form, a complaint would not even be necessary to launch an investigation on a media institution.

Broadcasting Regulatory Commission:

The Broadcasting Regulatory Commission is to be introduced via a new piece of legislation.

The cabinet appointed subcommittee, led by Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe completed the drafting of the legislation establishing a ‘Broadcast Authority’ for the creation of a Broadcasting Regulatory Commission.

This document contains multiple sections on electronic media, that need to be taken seriously.

It proposes for the establishment of a Broadcasting Regulatory Commission consisting of five members.

The Secretary to the Ministry of Media, and the Director General of Telecommunication will serve as ex-officio members.

The other three members will be appointed to the Broadcasting Regulatory Commission by the President.

According to this document, the scope of the Broadcasting Regulatory Commission covers serious areas concerning the process of electronic media.

The objective of the Broadcasting Regulatory Commission shall be to ensure to carry on the broadcasting services without any detriment to national security, national economy, and public order.

In addition, the objective of the Broadcasting Regulatory Commission is also to ensure that broadcasting services shall provide people true and accurate information as guaranteed by the constitution.

Further, the Broadcasting Regulatory Commission shall issue annual licenses for broadcasting services.

In addition, another objective of the Broadcasting Regulatory Commission is to issue guidelines in respect of broadcasting to enhance the spiritual development and mental health of the people while safeguarding the social and cultural values and entertainment of the people.

The Broadcasting Regulatory Commission will also be empowered to formulate codes of conduct to be followed by the broadcasting entities or persons in consultation with the licenses broadcasters.

Investigating Committee:

The new legal framework proposed by the cabinet appointed subcommittee led by Dr. Rajapakshe proposes to appoint an investigation committee to investigate complaints and made recommendations.

The three-member committee shall be headed by the Director General of the Broadcasting Regulatory Commission, and the others two members will be those with experience in the field of law or mass media.

According to the latest document, the committee may conduct an investigation, upon its own initiative or upon the request by any interested person.

This committee may conduct an investigation, upon its own initiative or upon the request by any interested person, on any matter in which a license holder of any broadcasting service is involved in what may lead to a threat to national security, national economy, or may create any conflict among races and religions.

A serious section in this document is that for the purpose of an investigation the committee may, by notice in writing require any person or entity to produce to the committee any specified document, specified written or oral information which the committee considers relates to any matter relevant to the investigations.

It proposes that the Committee shall have the power to enter, inspect, and search the premises where the broadcasting service is being carried out with any entry warrant issued by a magistrate, and take copies of or seize and detain any relevant records or documents of such broadcasting entity.

Upon the recommendations of the committee, the Broadcasting Regulatory Commission may cancel, suspend or impose a fine to the license issued to the broadcasting entity.

In addition to the violation of any clause of the Broadcasting Regulatory Commission Act, the Commission can also take a decision on the license issued to a broadcasting entity, if it had broadcasted anything that may create a threat to national security, economy, or conflict among races or religions.

It notes that any person who fails to comply with any direction or recommendation issued to by the commission or refuses to cooperate, shall be guilty of an offense and shall on conviction after a summary trial before a Magistrate be liable to a fine or imprisonment, or both.

Any person or entity that engaged in broadcasting services aggrieved by a decision of the commission may appeal against such a decision at the Court of Appeal.

What is most interesting is that the document does not give a definition to the terms of ‘Broadcasting’, ‘Broadcasting Service Provider’, ‘License’, and ‘Licensee’.

(newsfirst.lk)

News

“14.3% Surge in new HIV infections in 2023, reveals national program”

Published

on

By

The National Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS Prevention Program states that the reporting of new HIV infections has increased by 14.3 percent.

This is higher in 2023 compared to 2022, director, Dr. Janaki Vidanapathirana, community medicine specialist said.
She said that last year, 694 new HIV infected people were identified, most of them were men, and the number is 611, which as percentage is 88%. Last year, 81 HIV infected women were reported, which is 11.7 percent as a percentage. It is also
reported that there are 4100 infected people in society.

Continue Reading

News

Sri Lanka to Host Digital Economy Summit in July

Published

on

By

The State Minister for Technology, Mr. Kanaka Herath, announced that the anticipated National Cyber Security Act will be introduced this year, followed by the establishment of the Cyber Security Authority.

Additionally, the State Minister underscored the preparations made for the Digital Economy Summit scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka by the end of July. The summit serves as a platform for fostering innovation, collaboration, and investment in digital technologies, thus propelling the country towards a more resilient and prosperous digital economy.

Speaking at a press briefing titled “Collective Path to a Stable Country” held at the President Media Centre (PMC) today (29),

State Minister Herath further said;

The digital economy, which previously stood at 4.73%, has now surpassed the 5% mark, indicating significant growth.

This expansion has notably bolstered the country’s overall economic resilience. To further enhance this momentum, preparations are underway for the Digital Economy Summit scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka at the end of July. The summit aims to attract both local and foreign investors, with collaborative efforts from foreign embassies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Investment Promotion facilitating this initiative.

Furthermore, a sum of Rs. 50 million derived from the profits of Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) was allocated to the treasury in the previous year. In line with President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal, a new initiative has been launched to uplift small and medium-sized industrialists, who constitute 52% of the country’s economy. This endeavour seeks to empower such enterprises technologically, offering them Good manufacturing practice (GMP) and SLSI certifications. Additionally, plans are underway to facilitate access to low-interest loans through the Asian Development Bank (ADB), with the ultimate goal of guiding these small and medium-sized industrialists into the market.

(dailynews.lk)

Continue Reading

News

SC quashes Cabinet decision granting Paget Road residence to Maithripala

Published

on

By

The Supreme Court on Thursday (29 Feb.) quashed the Cabinet decision allowing former President Maithripala Sirisena to occupy his official residence at Paget Road in Colombo 07 even after he left office.

Accordingly, the court stated that an order will be issued invalidating the Cabinet decision taken on 15 October 2019 in this regard.

The relevant court order was issued by Supreme Court Justice Priyantha Jayawardena, with the concurrence of Justices Gamini Amarasekera and Kumudini Wickremasinghe, upon consideration of a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition filed by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu.

The petition further sought a court order stating that former President Sirisena had violated several fundamental rights of the public by taking decisions pertaining to his own privileges and rights during his tenure as the President, thereby making him the head of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Announcing the verdict, Supreme Court Justice Priyantha Jayawardena highlighted that the relevant Cabinet decision made by Sirisena was, in fact, unlawful, given that he was both, the President and the head of the Cabinet of Ministers at the time the decision in question was taken.

In their petition, the CPA and Dr. Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu claimed that the residence in question is of great financial value to the country, and thereby stated that such an allocation for a former President was irrational, illegal and arbitrary, and also violated several fundamental rights of the country’s citizens including that of the right to equality.

(adaderana.lk)

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2023 Sri Lanka Mirror. All Rights Reserved