Sri Lanka’s Minister of Finance and Mass Media says the general public has lost confidence in traditional journalists and media due to the excessive use of smart phones which has resulted in deterioration of quality and standard of the news.
He said in this situation of the lack of trust in the traditional journalist, everyone who has a smartphone has become a journalist and the traditional journalist reporting without credibility and any foundation has caused this situation.
Minister Mangala Samaraweera made these comments speaking at a workshop organized by the Sri Lanka Press Council for the teachers of the Matara District held at Pearl Cliff Hotel in Matara yesterday.
Expressing his views the Minister said a survey was conducted in the United States in 2017 on the reliability of professions and journalist and politicians were at the bottom as the least reliable professions.
“That means we are in the same boat,” the Minister said declining to explain why politicians are the least reliable.
“Today people’s confidence in the traditional journalist is diminishing. The reason is reporting with no basis. In the past, whatever reports were published in newspapers, there was a basis for that. Now, news is being produced for the needs of journalists, politicians, and various people. But in this modern society these lies cannot go forward. They will be proven and with that, the trust in the mass media will be lost. Today everyone has smartphones. All of them have become a reporter. Therefore, the censorship is not valid for today,” the Minister explained.
Minister Samaraweera said that the reporters are trying to showcase a different picture to the public through their smartphone culture and rumors and wrong information are being spread as news. As a result the standard and the quality of the news have deteriorated.
The Minister said a dialogue on this issue is being conducted at worldwide level to change the ‘fake news’ culture.
“The censorship and laws alone cannot free the society from this peril. We need to create a new generation that excludes tribal ideas,” he said pointing outhit the schools and the teachers have a major role to play in this regard.
Minister Samaraweera pointing out that according to Google, Sri Lanka topped the list of the countries that searched the word “sex” said when more restrictions are imposed people will be more tempted to explore and this situation does not arise in open societies.
“Therefore, you as teachers have a huge responsibility to direct the children to create an open society,” Minister Samaraweera said.
MP Buddhika Pathirana, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Press Council Koggala Wellala Bandula and Director General of Government Information Sudarshana Gunawardena were also present.