3.5 Media and Communication

Sri Lanka Media Authority
We believe it is important to set up an independent Sri Lanka Media Authority (SLMA). It will be the responsibility of this body to ensure radio and television broadcasting, print and other electronic media provide a balanced service to all Sri Lankans without fear or favour, operating within the regulatory framework.

Public Broadcaster
We also believe there should be public broadcasting service financed and controlled by the public for the public. It should be neither commercial nor state-owned, free from political interference and pressure from commercial forces. At its best, the public broadcaster can play a major role in helping the Sri Lankan public better understand the country’s social, political and cultural complexity.

Public broadcasting includes a radio, television and other electronic media outlets. Their primary mission is public service.

Public Enquiry
We will appoint a commission to carry out enquiries into setting up:

  • a Statutory Media Authority; and

  • an Independent Public Broadcasting Corporation.

This commission will be chaired by somebody with extensive media expertise and members will be drawn from diverse fields of expertise in society. A secretarial team will be appointed for its administrative and research work. All appointments will be solely based on merit.

The commission will be expected to hand over within a prescribed time limit, the report with evidence-based recommendations to the minister responsible for media. The Minister is responsible for tabling it in the Parliament. The government should be responding to the report within four months from the date of receiving the report.

The government’s response should outline the following:

  • the recommendations the government will not accept and the reasons for it;

  • the recommendations the government will principally agree to, but no timeframe to implement and the reason for it; and

  • the recommendations the government will take on board and implement within a specified timeframe and reasons for it.

Once tabled in the parliament the report will become a public document.

The Terms of Reference detailed below describe the purpose and scope of the enquiry.

1) Setting up Media Authority


To investigate and recommend the best way of setting up a regulatory body that is independent of government to monitoring the operations of all media outlets with special reference to the following criteria:

  1. Identify and counter new challenges presented by technological development;

  2. Review and recommend media industry standards and codes of practice including censorship laws;

  3. Develop an effective licensing regime to contribute towards the expenses of public broadcaster;

  4. Review television classification regime with reference to the telecasting times to suit a younger audience;

  5. Investigate and recommend appropriate commercial advertisements if any, for the public broadcaster;

  6. Review whether the government should give priority to the public broadcaster for government advertisements as a way of contributing to its coffers;

  7. Develop guidelines especially for television outlets to reduce unnecessary displays of violence in television programs and to focus on delivering unbiased information to all citizens;

  8. Review and recommend requirements of monitoring and sanctioning of electronic media engaged in prohibited online content;

  9. Review defamation guidelines for all media platforms and recommend changes, if necessary;

  10. Discuss through a parliamentary bipartisan oversight committee the pros and cons of SLMA reporting to the Parliament as opposed to the Minister; and

  11. Review and recommend a legislative framework necessary for setting up Sri Lanka Media Authority.


  • Call for written submissions from all interested parties;

  • Invite most appropriate submitters for a public enquiry; and

  • Requests for briefings from all media outlets and relevant departments.

2) Public Broadcasting


To identify the best way to set up an independent broadcaster that is not solely about producing entertainment, but will deliver market share and inform the public while serving the public good based on the following criteria:

  • Enhancing Public Broadcaster as an educational and cultural vehicle especially for disadvantaged communities;

  • Strengthening Public Broadcaster as a gateway to information and knowledge for all Sri Lankans;

  • Encouraging innovative and creative improvements in programming to captivate larger audiences;

  • Transparent process to make independent Public Broadcaster board appointments;

  • Review the situation of all publicly funded media outlets and recommend an appropriate amalgamated/umbrella structure for a truly independent public broadcaster;

  • Review and recommend funding methodologies;

  • Recommend ways to distant it from vested interests;

  • Recommend coordinating programs to reflect the multicultural nature of the country;

  • Identify topics of social benefit that are not provided by commercial broadcasters;

  • Review the use of state-of-the-art technologies;

  • Explore the possibilities of broadcasting overseas; and

  • Any overall recommendation for setting up a legislative framework to facilitate the independent Public Broadcaster.


  • Call for written submissions from all interested parties;

  • Invite most appropriate submitters for a public enquiry;

  • Request for briefings from all media outlets and relevant departments;

  • Communicate with NRSL communities who are engaged in community radios/televisions;

  • Request briefings from the Arts Community in the country; and

  • Research on British, Australian, Canadian and other relevant broadcasting corporations.

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