President Ranil Wickremesinghe has emphasised that all media outlets, including social media, should engage in a discussion regarding whether to enter into international agreements or adhere to the respective country’s legal framework. 

He made these remarks during his attendance at the ceremony, held at the Presidential Secretariat on Tuesday (03 Oct.), in honour of the distinguished figure in Sri Lankan journalism, Edmund Ranasinghe, the founding Editor and Editorial Director of the ‘Diwaina’, newspaper.

Addressing the gathering, the Head of State pointed out that the advent of social media has led to a situation where some entities publish content according to their own whims, circumventing established regulations, and thus emphasised that media in any country must operate within the framework of its own laws.

“The future of media art will undoubtedly unfold in the coming two or three years and expertise in this domain may emerge not just from New York but also from Sri Lanka”, President Wickremesinghe said.

This event marked the inauguration of a program initiated by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to pay tribute to senior journalists who have made significant contributions to the field of journalism in the country.

During the ceremony, the book ‘Edmund’s Newspaper Revolution,’ a compilation recognizing Mr. Ranasinghe’s seven decades of media dedication at the age of 93, was also unveiled. This book was authored by Presidential Senior Adviser Prof. Sunanda Madduma Bandara and edited by Presidential Media Director Mr. W. M. K. Wijebandara and Deputy Media Director Deepti Adhikari.

Addressing the event, President Wickremesinghe said;
In 1977, when I initially ran for election in the Biyagama Constituency, I sought out a skilled journalist to write an article for me. My father promptly recommended Edmund Ranasinghe, who subsequently penned my first political article. I held onto it until last year, but regrettably, I no longer possess it.

During my father’s tenure as the Chairman of Lake House, Mr. Edmund Ranasinghe served admirably as the Editor of newspapers such as Silumina and Dinamina. Piyasena Nishanka and M.A. Silva, along with Martin Wickramasinghe, received recognition from senior journalists and writers. Consequently, Mr. Ranasinghe possesses substantial experience in both the media landscape that existed before independence and the one that emerged thereafter.

In 1953, when rice prices surged, Mr. Dudley Senanayake was compelled to resign as Prime Minister. Sixty-nine years later, Gotabaya Rajapaksa faced a similar predicament over fuel shortages. Throughout these 69 years, Mr. Ranasinghe has amassed a wealth of experience, making him capable of writing a comprehensive book on the subject.

Mr. Ranasinghe played a pivotal role in the press struggle of 1964 and his experiences undeniably left an indelible mark on the media culture of our nation. However, the landscape of print media is undergoing significant changes. Journalism, once reliant on lead type, has evolved to include tools like the iPad.

The capacity to swiftly access knowledge, even within a venerable institution like the Lake House Institute, has been realized through technological advancements. Consequently, technology has become an invaluable tool for advancing the field of journalism.