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Workshop on Indian cinema inaugurated



A workshop on Indian cinema was inaugurated at the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre in Colombo on April 28.

State Minister of Urban Development and Housing – Arundika Fernando was present on the occasion.

Mr. Vinod K Jacob, Deputy High Commissioner participated in the inauguration and  welcomed the delegation led by the highly decorated director, actor, screenwriter and lyricist from  Kannada cinema, Dr. Nagathihalli Chandrashekaran to the workshop.

Speaking on the occasion, Deputy High Commissioner noted, “At a time when India and Sri Lanka are celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations, it is indeed timely that we are having this workshop.” Wishing that the workshop would contribute to deepening people to people ties, he highlighted six main observations during the course of his speech.
First, every year, more than 2000 films are made in India. In 2011, the total number of cinema tickets sold were 3.5 billion. The history of Indian cinema is more than 100 years old. The pioneering filmmaker was Dadasaheb Phalke, who is known as the father of Indian cinema, gave India the first full length silent feature film titled RAJA HARISHCHANDRA on 3 May 1913. Through this long journey, Indian cinema has enriched Indian society and vice versa. The movies have tackled issues like nationalism, women’s and children’s rights, caste, religion, class and the like.

Second, looking at the more than 100-year-old journey of Indian cinema and how we responded to the restrictions of Covid 19, there are some interesting trends. The fact that RRR’s Naatu Naatu won the Best Original track at the latest Academy Awards is a testimony to the ability of Indian cinema to innovate. He quoted a report which estimated that Hindi theater-going universe shrank by 21.5 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels. In contrast, most South Indian languages have shown stability or growth, with Kannada gaining the most at 25%, from 1.16 crore to 1.45 crore.

Third, it is important to recognize that commercial success is an essential element of the progress of the Indian cinema. Equally, this is a fluid concept. Among the earliest examples in this regard is the success of the 1951 movie AWARA which set a record in terms of collection, was overtaken in 1952 itself with collections for the movie AAN. This year, the movie PATHAAN has set fresh records. However, related to this is the aspect of success in terms of creative content which cannot only be measured by collections. Convergence of these two aspects namely the commercial and the creative depends in large measure on the audience.

Fourth, Kannada cinema has come a long way since the first talkie SATI SULOCHANA in the 1930s. Its output has been prolific and contributed to the vitality of Indian cinema and indeed Indian society. The KGF series is fresh in everyone’s minds but the workshop will educate about the versatility of Kannada cinema.

Fifthly, the ecosystem that enables Indian cinema flows from the freedom of speech and expression which is a fundamental right in the Indian constitution. The Cinematograph Act of 1952 is the main piece of legislation in this regard. As is normal in any other jurisdiction, there are structures and mechanisms that govern censorship, copyright and piracy including digital piracy.

Finally, the Government and people of India have stood by the people of Sri Lanka and have given support to the tune of USD 4 billion. This has been in line with the Government’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy. It is important that Sri Lankan friends appreciate that such a policy can be successful only if the people of India support these initiatives. The Indian people continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka.


Opposition unanimously rejects new media law




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’.


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Pastor Jerome’s FR petition to be heard on June 28




The Fundamental Rights petition filed by Pastor Jerome Fernando seeking an order preventing police from arresting him in connection with the controversial Sunday sermon was today fixed for June 28 by the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court today allowed Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera to intervene in this petition as an Intervenient Petitioner.


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Chinese national dies after falling from a building




A Chinese national has died after falling from the 08th floor of a housing complex under construction in Kompanna Vidiya area.

The victim, who was seriously injured in this manner while doing inspections at the site, had died on admission to the Colombo National Hospital, reports say.

It is reported that the deceased was a 24-year-old assistant engineer.

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