Every possible measure will be taken to empower journalists to build an unbiased media culture and strengthen the media profession, said Minister of Mass Media Dullas Alahapperuma. The Minister was speaking in a meeting with the Editors’ Guild held at the Department of Government Information September 30.
Having realized the need to set up an Institute of Higher Studies in Mass Media to develop the professional skills of media personnel, its preliminary initiatives have already been taken.
The Editors’ Guild pointed out that several institutes are functioning for the benefit of the members of other professions such as doctors and lawyers but a similar body is not available for the media personnel. When a media person is elevated to the level of the Chartered Media Person, his or her educational qualifications as well as the period of service, training and experience, will be considered. A Chartered certificate will be issued when he or she achieves the standard level. This initiative is currently under discussion, and a representative from the Editors’ Guild could be nominated to the Committee that is currently considering the setting up of an institute of Higher Studies in Mass Media.
The Minister pointed out the importance of amending and updating the Press Council Act No.5 of 1973 taking into consideration the new trends and recent developments of the media field.
At that point, the Editors’ Guild stated that setting up a separate mechanism for social media and electronic media is apt. The Minister who said that the process to amend the Press Council Act has started and the views of the Editors’ Guild is sought in that regard. He assured that journalists will not be called to CID in the future.
The IGP has been educated that he should definitely inform the Director-General of the Department of Government’s Information when media personnel bearing a Media Accreditation is arrested in connection with some incident in the future, Minister Dullas
Alahapperuma further said. He reiterated that it is expected to select 2000 schools out of 3024, and to set up Media Circles in them, and sponsor them in the future.
Minister Alahapperuma said that the Media Insurance scheme will be regularized to cover 3000 media personnel within three months.
He urged the Editors’ Guild to join in building a media culture of higher standard in the country and requested to be concerned in reporting the sentiments and other affairs of the differently-abled persons. The Editors’ Guild was affirmative.