Nation 2  


National Conference on self regulation in the media
The recent phone hacking scandal in the UK has raised several questions about ethical journalism around the world. Is it time to reinvigorate respect for the Editors Code of Professional Practice, and take a fresh look at self-regulation in the media? Is the modern day requirement a multi-media code of ethics in the multi platform world of integrated global media?
The National Conference on Self Regulation organised by the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL) will be held on September 7 and 8 in the Auditorium of the Sri Lanka Press Institute, 96 Kirula Road, Colombo 05.
The Chief Guest on the occasion will be former Secretary General of Parliament and Parliamentary Ombudsman Sam Wijesinha and currently the Chairman of the Dispute resolution Council of the PCCSL. The key note address will be delivered by Insurance Ombudsman Dr. Wickrama Weerasooria, a former Secretary to the Ministry of Plan Implementation and High Commissioner to Australia and one-time professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
This is the first National Conference to be held by the PCCSL after it was established in 2003 by the media industry and among those participating at the two day event will be delegates from Jaffna, Batticaloa, Matara, Trincomalee, Kandy, Kurunegala, Hambantota, Ratnapura, Vavuniya, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Ampara, These delegates will include provincial correspondents, civil society personalities and individuals who have made complaints from the provinces to the PCCSL.
There will be six Working Sessions during the conference. They are as follows:
Session I: Sept 7, 2011 - Policing the Media: Statutory or Self Regulatory. The speakers will be Wijedasa Rajapaksha, MP and a former Chairman of the Press Council, Dr. Ariyaratne Athugala, Director General of Government Information and Arittha Wikramanayake, former Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Session II: Sept 7, 2011 - Media Ethics; Fact or Fiction. The speakers will be Journalists Mr. N. M. Ameen, Ms. Seetha Ranjanee and Mr. R. Prabaghan.
Session III: Sept 7, 2011 - The Internet: A License to Slander? The speakers will be Jayantha Fernando, ICT Law and Policy Expert and Nalake Gunewardene, Science writer and columnist.
Session IV: Sept 7, 2011 - The World Outside. The speakers will be William Gore, Director General Press Complaints Commission of the UK (via satellite), Neville de Silva, Press Attaché, Sri Lanka Embassy in Thailand (recorded), Lakshman Gunasekera, President, South Asian Free Media Association (Sri Lanka Branch) and Hana Ibrahim Former Editor Sunday Standard.
Session V: Sept 8, 2011 - Role of Media Organisations in Self Regulation. The speakers will be Sunil Jayasekera, of the Free Media Movement, Gnanasiri Kothigoda, of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association and Dharmasiri Lankapelli, of the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions.
Session VI: Sept 8, 2011 - PCCSL: Resolving Conflicts between the Media and the Public. The speakers will be Kamal Liyanaarachchi, Acting CEO of the PCCSL and three complainants who had their complaints effectively resolved by the PCCSL.
The entire proceedings of the National Conference will be relayed live to the newsrooms of the Lankadeepa and Lakbima newspapers in Colombo and the Uthayan in Jaffna.
First woman Attorney General of Sri Lanka takes oaths
By, Dulan Hettiarachchi, Media Consultant, Ministry of Justice
Shanthi Eva Wanasundera, PC was sworn in as 26th Attorney General of Sri Lanka before His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, the President of Sri Lanka cementing a remarkable milestone in the history of the Judiciary of Sri Lanka becoming the first woman Attorney General of Sri Lanka.
She will be succeeding Mohan Peiris -PC.
Shanthi Eva Wanasundera was born in Kurunegala, during the period her father Hector Jayasena, a reputed teacher from Down South was posted to a school in Kurunegala district. Jayasena rose to the enviable heights of his determined ambition of becoming an attorney-at-law by his untiring efforts in later years. It is inspiring to learn the story of his incredible achievement. True to form, it was the daily routine of Jayasena to escort his daughter Ms Eva Jayasena a student of the law college to the college for the sake of her safety. He observed the phenomenal engagement of the law students in their studies at the time of his visits to the law College every day. This encouraged him to pursue knowledge and professional articulation in the study of law accredited him with great success of becoming an Attorney-at-Law.
Sumana Jayasena, a house wife and the mother made a dedicated effort guiding with prudence for her daughter Shanthi Eva to rise to the loftiest echelons of legal profession.
Eva’s brilliance in studies was highly impressive from the salad days of her career in school.
Beginning her primary education at St. Thomas Girl’s College in Matara, she was compelled to change schools on account of her father’s transferable profession of teaching. She was fortunate to win a scholarship to study in USA while she was at Dharmapala, College, Pannipitiya. Ending her studies in Sri Lanka she left to USA to pursue her higher studies under the scholarship at Canyon del Oro High School Tucson, Arizona, USA.
On completion of her studies under the scholarship in USA, she returned to Sri Lanka and entered Law College in early 1970s. Her intellectual aptitude stimulated with masterly performance of candescent success influenced her to achieve her ambition of becoming an Attorney-at-Law. She debuted as an Attorney-at-Law at the Gangodawila Magistrate Court followed by the District Courts Mt.Lavinia and Colombo. It was significantly a special feature to note that all relative legal matters under her purview were handled by herself.
She joined the Attorney General’s Department in 1979 as a State Counsellor. Subsequently she served as the Senior State Counsellor, Deputy Solicitor General, Additional Solicitor General and Solicitor General. It is a spectacular scenario of ascendance to higher rank as the first woman Senior State Counsellor, first woman Deputy Solicitor General, first woman Additional Solicitor General and the first woman Solicitor General of Sri Lanka in her resplendent career of this noble legal profession.
Eva Wanasundera served as the Acting Attorney General 16 times.
She is also master degree holder of Law of the University of Leicester, United Kingdom. She mastered trade law for her LLM degree. Being a professional and senior official of Attorney General Office, she represented Sri Lanka in key conferences overseas keeping The Sri Lanka Flag high.
She is married to Indrajith Wanasundera, a well renowned businessman in Ratnapura. Their son Subodha lives in Australia with his wife Chandani. And daughter Medanee is in USA for higher studies.
First Wildlife lecture on elephants by Srilal Miththapala on Wednesday
By Roy Silva
The first of four lectures scheduled for September, the month dedicated to Wildlife and Nature by Sri Lanka Tourism, will be on Wednesday the 7th and delivered by Srilal Miththapala at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Auditorium at 5.30pm.

Srilal Miththapala needs no introduction to tourism and wildlife enthusiasts will speak on the largest seasonally recurring concentration of wild elephants in the world. The Gathering at Minneriya has been recognised by Lonely Planet as amongst the Top 10 wildlife spectacles in the world. It is estimated to be worth a billion rupees of annual tourism revenues for the country.

The second lecture on the 14th is by Chithral Jayathilaka and Riaz Cader on ‘Why Sri Lanka is best for Leopards?’ Starting from a campaign with its roots in 2001, Sri Lanka’s Yala has gained international recognition as the best place in the world for seeing and photographing leopards. Chithral and Riaz will share some tales from the leopard country of Yala and Wilpattu and explain why Sri Lanka is best for leopard.

The third on the 21st is on the Sinharaja Bird Wave, the biggest and longest studied bird wave by Professor Sarath Kotagama who will make his presentation on a tropical rainforest spectacle which is the longest continuously studied and the largest bird wave in the world. It also offers the longest viewing time for eco-tourists. The Sinharaja Bird Wave study has been led by local scientists for over two decades in collaboration with foreign scientists.

The fourth and final lecture on the 28th will be by Gehan de Silva Wijeratne on why Sri Lanka is the best for seeing Blue Whales in the world. He also will explain that it is the best chance for seeing Blue and Sperm Whales in the same sailing. Whale revenues can now top over a million rupees a day during the season from December to mid-April.

These four lectures by eminent personalities on the themes Elephants, Leopards, Birds and Whales of Sri Lanka are scheduled for September, the month dedicated especially for Nature and Wildlife in the tourism calendar in an effort to promote the Sri Lanka as the ultimate island safari.

Conducted under the auspices of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO), the series of lectures will culminate with a safari focusing on the ‘Elephant Gathering’ in Minneriya on September 30 at the Chaaya Village, Minneriya. An awareness programme for stakeholders such as Wildlife Department officials, trekkers, safari jeep owners and other service providers will also be held on the same day.

A wildlife phototherapy competition has also been organised, which will run throughout the month. It will be a virtual exhibition where participants can upload their images of nature and wildlife to the Sri Lanka Tourism website www.srilanka.travel. A winner will be chosen at the end of the month. The competition is open for both local and foreign tourists.

Dr. Chris Nonis, new Sri Lankan envoy to UK, N. Ireland
Dr. Chris Nonis assumed office as High Commissioner for Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom on September 1, 2011, at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London. Dr. Nonis will also be concurrently accredited to Ireland. He succeeds Justice Nihal Jayasinghe.
He studied medicine at the Royal Free Hospital Medical School, University of London and also obtained a First Class Honours Degree from Imperial College, London. He spent his electives at Harvard Medical School Boston, USA and completed his postgraduate studies at Addenbrooke’s Cambridge, Brompton and Hammersmith, and obtained his M.R.C.P. (UK).
He has lived and worked in both countries, in the public health sector in the UK, academia, international and civil society organisations, and the private sector. He was appointed as the Deputy Chairman of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) in 2008, and is the first Sri Lankan to hold this office in the RCS’ 140-year old history. At the time of his being chosen as the Sri Lankan envoy to the UK and Ireland, Dr. Nonis was functioning as the Chairman of the Mackwoods Group of Companies, which was established in 1841.
Welcoming the new High Commissioner, P. M. Amza, Acting High Commissioner said that Dr. Nonis would bring in a wealth of experience, gathered over the years working in different areas ranging from international business to international affairs. He recalled Dr. Nonis’ long- term association with the Royal Commonwealth Society, and expressed confidence that his broad experience in multiple sectors in both countries will be of immense help in furthering Sri Lanka – UK bilateral relations at this important juncture.
Upon assumption of duties, High Commissioner Dr. Nonis said he would be committed to further enhance and strengthen the bonds between the two countries, building on their shared commonality of values.
He commented that his diverse background developed in him an understanding and respect for the dignity and diversity of people irrespective of their background, and that it has also taught him a degree of empathy and sensitivity and a broader perspective of life.
Making specific reference to the conducive macroeconomic environment and emerging opportunities in post-conflict Sri Lanka, he said he would also attach importance to economic diplomacy while working closely with the host government towards greater collaboration and cooperation in all other areas of mutual interest.
Multi-faith religious observances by the Buddhist, Hindu, Islam and Christian priests were conducted to invoke blessings for the New High Commissioner and for peace and prosperity in Sri Lanka.
Korea to increase economic assistance to Lanka
Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea have undergone many similar experiences in the past and, overcoming difficulties of a formidable nature, have every reason to look to the future with confidence – a consideration which establishes a powerful natural bond between the two countries as a basis for close co-operation both bilaterally and at the international level, Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik of the Republic of Korea said in Seoul on Thursday.
Kim Sung-hwan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea, said at a separate meeting that Korea has identified Sri Lanka as a country with which it would develop special economic relations, with increased resources being made available, as the two countries celebrate next year the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
The Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister made these comments while receiving Professor G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, on a two-day official visit to Seoul.
Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik said that, as a country which had derived considerable benefit in the past from foreign assistance, Korea was acutely mindful of its obligation to reciprocate, and observed that Sri Lanka’s striking achievements in the recent past in responding to the challenges of restoring peace and stability and promoting reconciliation, made the country an appropriate beneficiary of Korean assistance in every way.
At the meeting which Minister Peiris had in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Korean side expressed satisfaction with the success of projects which had been undertaken in Sri Lanka in the sectors of health care, highways and information technology, implemented with assistance from Korea’s Official Development Assistance provided under the Economic Development Co-operation Fund. Further assistance is to be made available through the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank under a New Framework Agreement which will be signed next year for a period of four years. The Korean government has agreed to an enhanced quantum of assistance for Sri Lanka.
Prof. Peiris indicated, at a meeting at the Ministry of Finance and Strategy, that priority projects for disbursement of these resources next year would be improvement of the Peradeniya – Badulla - Chenkalady road, the Daduru Oya Integrated Water Supply Scheme, the Galagedara – Horana Road, the Haragama (Kundasale Area) water supply project, the Gampaha administration complex and the construction of the Northern Provincial Council office complex. The modalities for financing the Hambantota Sports Complex were discussed with the Ministry of Finance and Exim Bank.
The Korea International Co-operation Agency (KOICA), which undertook the rehabilitation of 8 schools in the districts of Ampara and Batticaloa, the improvement of health facilities in Matara and the construction of an international convention centre in Hambantota, will increase the resources to be made available to Sri Lanka next year.
There were strong indications of a resurgence of interest by Korean investors, who brought the most extensive resources into Sri Lanka some years ago, in re-entering the country with investments on a significant scale. Minister Peiris was hosted at a series of events by leading business organisations including Korea Importers’ Association (KOIMA), Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Korea Federation of Small and Medium Sized Business (KBIZ) and the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI).
The Minister addressed the Korean International Trade Association (KITA) on investment and trade opportunities in Sri Lanka. 35 of Korea’s largest companies attended this meeting and interacted with Prof. Peiris at a question and answer session.
Prime Minister Kim appreciated the observation by Prof. Peiris that there are important synergies between the Korean project, Saemaul Undong (New Village Movement) and Sri Lanka’s Divineguma programme, the object of which is to develop 1.1 million economic centres to achieve food security for family units. The two sides agreed to strengthen initiatives under the Korea Project on International Agriculture (KOPIA) to assist Sri Lanka with seed processing, soil management, packaging and marketing.
Minister Peiris was received by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Park Hee-tae for an extensive discussion on Parliamentary co-operation.
At his meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Prof. Peiris explained Sri Lanka’s position on rehabilitation issues and connected matters at the international level. The Korean side expressed understanding of Sri Lanka’s position.
The Minister was interviewed by The Korea Times and The Korea Herald and also gave a media briefing in Seoul.
Tourism development strategy launch tomorrow
The launch of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Strategy 2011 – 2016 will take place on Monday, September 5 at the Cinnamon Lakeside hotel at 4.30pm.
The chief participants of the event organised by the Sri Lanka Tourism are Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development; Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane, Dy Minister; Dr. P. B. Jayasundera, Ministry Secretary; Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) and Rumy Jauffer, Managing Director, SLTDA.