Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will leave for Hong Kong today to attend the 15th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business (APK).

It will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) from November 3 to 5.

The aim of APK is to strengthen the connections of Asia-Pacific region entrepreneurs and German entrepreneurs.

This will be the initial conference being held without Great Britain.

Prof. Maithree Wickremesinghe, Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama, Secretary to the Prime Minister Saman Ekanayake, Sri Lanakan Ambassador in China Dr. Karunasena Kodithuwakku, Additional Secretary to the Prime Minister Saman Athaudahetti and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Sandra Perera will also participate.

Melanie Ann Pustay, the Director, Office of Information Policy, Department of Justice, United States today (1st Nov.) conducted a special lecture at Department of Government Information, Colombo on implementation of Right to Information in Sri Lanka.

The lecture themed, “Implementation of Right to Information at Grass Root Level and the Benefits received by the citizen” was joined by the RTI committee members in Sri Lanka and the journalists representing local and foreign media.

Ms. Melanie expressed the way in which RTI was implemented and practiced for the last five decades in US and encouraged Sri Lanka to go forward with the recently passed world’s seventh best RTI Act and also the second best such Act in South Asia.

President Maithripala Sirisena flew to Thailand on 30th of october to pay his last respects to Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The President placed flowers to pay his last respects to the late King and signed the Book of Condolences.

King Bhumibol, who was the world’s longest reigning monarch, died on 13 October in a hospital in Bangkok at the age of 88 and the Government of Thailand declared a 100-day mourning period in this regard.

Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Thailand, Kshenuka Seneviratne accompanied the President to pay last respect to Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

After paying last respects to Thailand’s late King the President returned to the Island yesterday night.

President Maithripala Sirisena said the Right to Information Act, which was passed in Parliament within a short period since the formation of the government to protect and strengthen the people’s rights to information, will be further empowered in the future with the addition of certain provisions to it. He stressed that the policy of the government is to facilitate the media and media personnel so as to strengthen media freedom.

The President made these remarks while addressing the 61st anniversary of the Sri Lanka Press Association at the BMICH on october 25th.

He further added that the government is duty bound to protect and safeguard media freedom and media personnel aiming to protect the right to information of the people.

“Protecting media freedom is among the government’s main policies,” President Sirisena said, addressing a large gathering of media personnel, including media representatives from the Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ).

He pointed out that the media should perform its duties in a responsible manner. “The media has to play a broad role in the country’s forward march to build a strong media culture. The media is duty bound to inculcate good and noble qualities in people such as patriotism, social responsibilities, social-harmony, personnel and social responsibilities rather than arousing hatred, communalism, racism etc. But, it can be seen that the headlines of certain news papers always carry news relating to hatred, conflict and other negative items,” the President said.

The President further said that he is being continuously attacked by the media. He said that he is happy about this as it symbolises that a vibrant media culture and media freedom thrives under this government.

“I kindly request the media which attack me to remember the situation that prevailed in the country before January 8, 2015 and prior to the formation of the good-governance government. It would have been far better, if these sections of the media which attack me today had the backbone to do the same before January 8, 2015.After January 8, 2015, the media has the freedom to attack even the President,” he said. The President added that no journalist is attacked now, no journalists is killed or no journalist flees and leaves the country due to death threats.

At the ceremony, 10 senior journalists were awarded “Lifetime Achievement Award – 2016” by the President.

Accordingly, senor journalist N.R.J.Aaron who served in many positions including the post of Associate Editor of the Daily News, Giwantha Arthasadh, Praba Ranathunga, Siri Thilakasiri, Wehelle Piyathilaka, A.Laksmi Rajadorei, A.S.Fernando, M.A.M. Nilam and Henry Priyashantha Mendis received the Lifetime Achievement Awards from the President.

The broadcasting license of the Carlton Sports network (CSN), had already been cancelled, since the channel failed to adhere to transmission regulations, said Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunatilake.

He made this observation responding to a question raised by UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena under Standing Order 23(2).

He said it was a decision related only to the administration of television network and not related to any issue concerning journalists who were attached to it.

The minister said CSN had violated broadcasting regulations by changing its official address without prior notice to the Secretary of the Mass Media Ministry. They have also failed to submit their audited annual accounts to the Secretary.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that the CSN had failed to pay Rs. 1,000 million rupees that was imposed on it though we sent them many reminders to pay up the due amount. That was the most important and valid reason for the cancellation of their broadcasting license.

Raising the question under Standing Order 23(2), MP Dinesh Gunawardena urged the government to reverse the decision of cancelling the broadcasting license of Carlton Sports Network (CSN) charging that it was an illegal decision taken by the government.

According to reasons provided by the Mass Media Ministry Secretary, the address of the CSN had been changed without prior approval of the Secretary, while the reason he has given under Item 11 on the license. The license had not become affiliated to a registered political party in the event of the licensee selecting to surrender the license.

The third reason given by the Secretary was that the license should submit audited annual accounts to the secretary within the first three months of the following financial year.

Based on these three reasons, the government had taken measures to cancel the license of this popular TV network. He queried as to whether the government would take measures to reverse its illegal decision enabling to continue with the transmission of the TV channel or whether the government would accept that they have breached the constitutional and legal rights of the channel.

He further said CSN did not have any affiliation to any political party by adding that a business belonging to a family member of a politician could not be labeled as a business of a political party which he represents. “In other countries, even Presidential candidates have declared some television channels. We do not expect to do the same here,” he added. Changing the address could not be accepted as a reasonable fact to cancel the license of this channel. He also stressed the necessity of conducting a proper investigation before taking such a decision.

The Right to Information (RTI) Act will be implemented from 4 February 2017, Deputy Minister, Karunarathna Paranawithana said at yesterday's Cabinet press briefing. He added that information officers are currently being trained and after they are stationed in government institutions, the general public will be able to access important information that affects their daily lives.

Earlier, Director General of the Government Information Department, Ranga Kalansooriya told media that the government would attempt to provide as much information as possible for the public.

"We try to get as much information as possible because the alternative is giving space for rumours, which is much more dangerous. And there are times when we have to change the story because of new evidence that is uncovered. But at the end of the day someone should be responsible," he said.

The RTI Act was passed earlier this year and the government said that it will establish a special office to disseminate information on the Right to Information Act (RTIA) in Battaramulla.

A special ceremony was held at Temple Trees yesterday under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to mark the 60th anniversary of two artistic masterpieces, Maname by Professor Ediriweera Sarachchandra and Rekhawa by Dr. Lester James Peries. Sarachchandra produced his first stylist play Maname in 1956 to widespread acclaim. Rekhawa is the first film on village life and mythical belief of Sri Lankans directed by Dr. Peries. Picture shows Dr.Lester James Peries receiving an award from the Prime Minister. Sumithra Peries is also in the picture.

Department of Census and Statistics regularly gather data in a vast range through Censes and Surveys and quarterly calculate various indexes /Journalists mayassist policy makers by accurately reporting statistical data through media. Furthermore, the assistance of journalists is essential in gathering accurate data at institutional and household level as well as in raising public awareness in its relation.

 in view of the above, the Department of Census and Statistics in collaboration with the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media had been organized a workshop on “The use of  Statistics for Media Reporting”  It was held on 20.10.2016 from 8.30 a.m. to 1.30 Water’s Edge, Baththaramulla.

Hon.Niroshan Perera, State Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, Mr.M.I.M.Rafeek, Secretary to the Ministry, Mr.Nimal Bopage, Secretary to the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media and Dr. A.J. Satharasinghe, Director General of the Depatrment of Census and Statistics were gracing the occasion.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who is on an official visit to Belgium on Tuesday met the President of the European Commission Jean Claude Junker at the EC headquarters in Berlaymont palace, Brussels.

They held discussions in detail regarding the current political situation in Sri Lanka under President Maithripala Sirisena, which is based on peace and reconciliation.

According to the EC President under these circumstances, Sri Lanka has a great chance to regain the GSP Plus and he assured his fullest cooperation towards Sri Lanka without any hesitation.

President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment, has requested to implement the project for preparing the third communication report with the grant assistance provided under Global Environment Facility of the United Nations Development Programme, and to submit the same to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers said minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilaka.

 Minister said that Sri Lanka ratified UNFCCC in 1993. According to its 12th article member states should provide a communication report consisting of information on climate change and and 2012.