State and private media should have a healthy relationship says new Media Minister
[February 12, 2004
- 6.30 GMT

New Media Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar on Monday, February 9 said the state media belongs to the people. It cannot be used by the government of the day as it pleases and that the state media has a duty to set standards that the private media may follow if they wish.

President Kumaratunga appointed Lakshman Kadirgamar as Minister of Information and Telecommunication Saturday, February 7.

“A healthy relationship should be built between the state media and the private media. This can only happen if there is mutual respect between the two types of media. Mutual respect will grow when, common standards of professional conduct applicable to the media are accepted and upheld,” the Media Minister said in a statement.

[Full text of the statement]

The private media belongs to its owners who may use it as they please.

The state media belongs to the people. It cannot be used by the government of the day as it pleases.

The state media thus has a duty to set standards that the private media may follow if they wish.

A healthy relationship should be built between the state media and the private media. This can only happen if there is mutual respect between the two types of media. Mutual respect will grow when, common standards of professional conduct applicable to the media are accepted and upheld. When media personnel realize that they belong to a profession with responsibilities to the people their relationships with their respective masters will become not that of servants but that of partners.

During a general election, in particular, the state media, both print and electronic, should in handling public and political issues maintain a fair balance. Media coverage should be fair and topical. The public should be made aware that the Media Ministry acknowledges its responsibility to the people to ensure that the public debate that will go on during the election will representative, well informed and wide ranging.

In the allocation of time on the electronic media balance should be maintained between all political parties and other concerned groups.

Public debates should draw on sections of society which have hitherto not had the opportunity to express their views on important matters; especially civil society, academics, commercial and business executives, professions and others who could enrich debates on important issues.

These debates and discussions should cater not only to the Sinhala public but also to the Tamil and English speaking public.

A special effort must be made to bring on air young people especially in the age group of 30 to 40 who by virtue of their education and experience would have much to contribute on any issue.

A special effort must be made to bring on air people from the rural areas to speak about their views on matters of public concern. This vast section of our people has hitherto been neglected as the attention of the state media has not been adequately directed to them.

The issue that should be addressed continuously during the campaign is the holding of an election free of violence. To this end every effort must be made to bring together all those like-minded persons of whatever political persuasion who share that aspiration. The President’s total commitment to an election free of violence should be emphasized.

The topics of public debate should be, among others, the economic and social well-being of the people, ethnic and inter-religious harmony, culture, measures to tackle corruption, strengthen transparency and good governance, law and order, the environment and international relations.

New voices should be heard and fresh faces seen on the electronic media of the state.

In brief, the state media should help to project on the kind of Sri Lanka in which our people would like to live and to facilitate the expression of such views from the widest cross section of our people.

 

 

 

 

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Last Updated Date: February 12, 2004  - 6.30 GMT.

 


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State and private media should have a healthy relationship says new Media Minister