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Buddhism and the Mass Media

A Public Seminar on Buddhism and the Mass Media Sponsored by the Lanka Bauddha Sanrakshana Sabhawa February 15, 2002

Lanka Bauddha Sanrakshana Sabhawa 42 / 1, Asgiriya Maha Viharaya Kandy

The following Resolutions were adopted at this Seminar:

1) This House RESOLVES to request the Government and in particular its Minister of Mass Media to establish a Media Commission or a statutory authority with similar powers for the purpose of ensuring that the following requirements are met:

a) to abide by the duty imposed by Article 9 of Chapter 2 of the National Constitution on the State to foster and protect the Buddha Sasana, and accordingly take steps to ensure that all state owned media institutions such as the Lake House group of newspapers, Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, Rupavahini and ITN, give due wide prominence to Buddhism in their written publications, radio broadcasts and television programmes, and further prevent these state owned media institutions from publishing, broadcasting or televising any material that attempts to mock, ridicule or bring disrepute to Buddhism, or engage any activity that would deny due prominence or sidetrack Buddhism in the content of the aforesaid publications, broadcasts or television programmes,

b) to inquire into complaints made by Buddhist organisations and the Buddhist public in respect to the possible infringement of the above mentioned rules, and accordingly mete out punishment to those found guilty, and further examine proposals made by these Buddhist organisations and Buddhist public towards making these rules more effective,

c) to ensure that the majority of the personnel of the management and the editorial staff of these state owned media institutions are Buddhists, and the overall staff profile is reasonably consistent with the ratio of the Buddhist population of this country,

ii) to take steps to ensure that 75 % of the Members of the Media Commission or a statutory authority with similar powers, are Buddhists, and all such appointments are made through a process of prior consultation with leading Buddhist organisations,

iii) to appoint a Committee of Inquiry:

a) to review the findings and recommendations made by the Press Commission headed by former Supreme Court Judge Mr. Justice K.D. de Silva, in its Report released in 1964, and evaluate their relevance to any contemporary media reform initiative, and

b) investigate whether there is a campaign by groups hostile to Buddhism and the national interest, that uses the various segments of the mass media, with or without the connivance of media personnel, particularly in the state owned institutions, to undermine and cause prejudice to the traditional status and good repute of Buddhism.

2) This House further RESOLVES to request the Government and in particular its Minister of Mass Media to establish a Media Review Committee to monitor and review the publications, radio broadcasts and television programmes of media institutions that aim to undermine Buddhism and its pre-eminent status as the leading moral and spiritual force in this country.

3) This House RESOLVES to request the Government to appoint an impartial Committee to inquire into the attempt made by the Sunday Observer to publish an article (January 6, 2002) denigrating and ridiculing Buddhism and the Sacred Tooth Relic and questioning its authenticity. This House further requests that this inquiry should be required to be completed within 21 days of the appointment of the Committee and that any person (s) found guilty of being a party to this conspiracy to defame Buddhism and the Sacred Tooth Relic through the publication of this article, be dismissed from employment with the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

4) This House RESOLVES to request the Minister of Mass Media, to inaugurate a scheme providing better facilities and training to Journalists who are committed towards upholding the letter and spirit of Article 9 of Chapter 2 of the National Constitution, and the thrust of the above named Resolutions

Lanka Bauddha Sanrakshana Sabhawa
42 / 1, Asgiriya Maha Viharaya
Kandy

 


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