Mass Media Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said that to bring the State media, which are incurring losses now, to a profitable state, more creative programs should be introduced. The Minister acknowledged that there was a decline in creativity in the State media and called for immediate action.
Minister Dullas Alahapperuma was speaking at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Mass Media on October 21 at the Parliament premises.
The Minister said that approximately Rs. 35 million a month is spent on maintaining one State media institution and some added up to Rs. 45 million. Therefore, the Minister said that the Government could no longer bear the commercial failure of the State media. Furthermore, given that films with violent and inappropriate scenes for children are aired on television, the importance of initiating a program to recommend suitable air time for the telecast of such content was also stressed.
About 85 per cent of the people in the North are accustomed to watching Indian television channels and as a result, children in those areas have less general knowledge of events in the country. Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) Chairman Reginald Cooray said that educational programs for Tamil children from Grade 1 to Grade 13 are also being aired on the Nethra Channel from 4.00 am to 12.00 noon.
The Minister said that there is a problem that the information provided to the public through the State media is not transmitted to the Tamil people in the country. He also pointed out the need to appoint Tamil members to the Boards of Directors of State media institutions.
The Government will not allocate funds for any new construction related to the Ministry next year, due to the current economic situation in the country, the Minister said.
Parliamentarians Chandima Weerakkody, Shantha Bandara, Dr. Suren Raghavan, Uddika Premaratne, Weerasumana Weerasinghe, Madura Vithanage, Charles Nirmalanathan, Sampath Athukorala, Major Sudharshana Denipitiya, S. Kajakdran, Gunathilake Ranawaka, Dr. Upul Galappaththi and Diana Gamage participated. Officials from a number of institutions including the Mass Media Ministry, SLRC, Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), Independent Television Network (ITN), Sri Lanka Press Council, Department of Government Information, Sri Lanka Foundation, Right to Information Commission and Associate Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (Lake House) were present.