Media should be springboard to meet world challenges – Keheliya
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
Under the patronage of Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella a ‘Media Centre for National Development’ (MCND) was launched yesterday in a bid to boost ‘development dialogue’ with the media and to disseminate information locally and internationally on the government’s development strategies under the ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ programme.
Milinda Rajapaksa has been appointed as the Director of the Media Centre.
At the launch, Minister Rambukwella said when Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected in 2005, he rode in, in the wake of the tsunami that wiped off more than 50,000 people in the country, facing many other challenges like separatism and terrorism being the foremost. Around that time, oil prices soared and it was challenging. However, he knew what steps to take and the country went forward.Now the Government’s ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ programme again faces a new challenge due to the prevalence of the pandemic.
“It was an unexpected blow to the economy as the world began suffering from the global COVID-19 pandemic, and starting off plans to boost the Vistas of Prosperity was naturally affected.
However, he said that the development-centric country is moving forward and Media support was needed to disseminate accurate information locally and internationally to attract business.
He added, the country has handled COVID-19 effectively, and has been recognised globally but that sort of information must be sent out to the world to boost the economy, development, attract international investors and boost local industries, he added.
He underpinned the Media highlighting development information was key for Sri Lanka and it should not be based on politics and party affiliations. The Minister welcomed constructive criticism, but it should not be baseless allegations that could not be dealt with. He said content and subject should be dealt with rather than dismissing it based on party and policies. The Media Centre in the future would disseminate accurate information.
Commenting on the adverse comments on social media about the President’s visit to assess the progress of the ‘Gama Samaga Pilisandara’ (Discussions with the Village) recently, citing environmental destruction, the Minister said there were issues and those are concerns too and the new Media Centre would also talk about development projects and barriers faced.
“We need to cultivate to accept one’s ideas towards development. Respect and accept them and discuss the pros and cons and right information on those would be passed on to the Media and he urged the media fraternity to join hands in boosting the country. The Media Centre’s success story is the country’s success he added. Secretary to the Media Ministry Jagath P. Wijeweera noted that such a Media Centre will cater to the prosperity of the country ensuring right information to the Media, so that the global partners will read news that would attract investment and tourism.
“In terms of news, he added that all what we read is negative and sad news on Page One. In other countries, priority is given for development news of the country followed by other news but that’s not the case in Sri Lanka. “90% of the news on State television is of disturbance or sad news,” he said adding that the Media also should highlight news that would encourage the economy and have a good interaction with the public on that matter.