President Maithripala Sirisena opted for a pragmatic approach to the concept and asked that his government do their best to adhere to principles of good governance amidst challenging circumstances.

“When you take the current government, some people look at it and say ‘Yahapalanaya’ with pride while some say it with ridicule,” the President said. President Sirisena was speaking at the launching of the book ‘Buddhist Ideals of Good Governance’ at Waters Edge, Battaramulla yesterday.

“We all know that in Buddhism, we have the five precepts and the eight precepts and there are many Buddhists in this country and the world over. But, the problem is how many of these Buddhists by name live up to the true philosophy.?

Many take up the five precepts but how many actually keep it?,”the President said.

“This is similar to the concept of Yahpalanaya. How many truly live by the principles of Yahapalanaya. When you talk of the principles of good governance as prescribed by The

Buddha, at times, we think can we even pragmatically achieve one percent of that?,”the President asked.

“Having completed two years in office, the people in this country now have some measure of how much of good governance the President, the Prime Minister and the ministers have adhered to.

“To implement the concept of Good Governance in a society which has gone far beyond it is no easy task. To implement this within a society which functioned under politics, ways of thinking and alternative pathways to that of good governance is a challenge- similar to the keeping to the

five precepts”, the President further explained.

The President added,“The only solution we have is to do our best as we know how”.

Ven.Dr.Tampalawela Dhammaratana Thera who is a co-author of the book also handed over a concept paper to establish an International Institute of Good Governance in Sri Lanka and

asked that the President make it a place to train future politicians and civil servants.

“Good governance can be the best gift we can bestow from our Buddhist heritage this year. It should be the hand book that future leaders should follow,” the Thera said.

“The Buddha instructed many rulers without being a politician himself. The Buddha asked that they practice civilised human behaviour in politics thereby ratifying good governance policies and advocating righteous administration,”Ven. Dr. Dhammaratana Thera said.

The other co-author of the book Prof.Francois Chenet stressed that with the future of politics predicted to be more unstable, it was necessary for leaders to ensure that societies are more open, equitable and transparent.

“It is always the ruler that makes the age, he creates the environment for change,”the Professor said. 

Minister of Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilaka, Minister Wijayadasa Rajapaksha, MInister Arjuna ranathunga, Deputy minister Karunarathna Paranawithana and Media Secretary Nimal Bopage participated in this event.

Right to Information (RTI) Act would be fully operative from February 3 enabling people to obtain any information from the government, Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said yesterday.

The Minister said this at a special meeting with Information Commission Chairman, committee members and media ministry members at the parliament premises yesterday. “As promised by this government to bring in the Right to Information (RTI) Act before it came to power it had taken steps to present the Right to Information Bill in Parliament on August 4 last year and it was passed with a massive 255 votes,” the Minister said.

Accordingly, every citizen in the country will get their right to know the information they need from any government institution. A Five members Right to Information (RTI) Commission was formed under former Ministry Secretary Mahinda Gammanpila, who was appointed as the Chairman of the Commission by the President on last September. S. G. Punchihewa, T. Selvakumaran, Salim Marzook and Kishali Pinto Jayawardhana had been appointed as the members of the Commission. However, some information prejudicial to the national security, national economy, examinations, foreign trade agreement negotiations, personnel details, details of medical reports would have restrictions, the Minister said. “For example you can’t demand the breakdown of arms and ammunition of the Army. You can't ask how many multi- barrel rockets the army has etc. Those details are not supposed to be revealed. You can’t ask a doctor about his treatment for a particular patient. That is the privacy of the patient. You can’t ask premature disclosure of foreign trade agreements,” he said. People can obtain their details in three languages, the minister said. 

President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed the relevant officials to take immediate steps to correctly implement the existing laws to prevent the abuse of intellectual property rights as well as to implement new rules and regulations if the existing laws are not adequate.

The President gave these instructions at a discussion heකා 09 th Jan. at the Presidential Secretariat with a group of artistes and relevant officials. During the meeting, attention was drawn towards proper payment of royalty to the writers and protecting the copyrights.

The President further said that at present the rules and regulations on intellectual property rights properly enforced in every developed country and we also should pay our attention in this regard.

President Sirisena directed the Ministry of Mass Media to implement a new program to educate the relevant sectors about the rules and regulations related to the intellectual property rights and the royalty.

The ideas and suggestions were presented for a qualitative media and regarding the steps that should be taken to prevent the damage caused to the society through indecent visuals.

Minister of Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilaka, Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya and artistes participated in this meeting.

The National Film Cooperation of Sri Lanka has scheduled a number of programs to celebrate the 69th anniversary of Sri Lankan Cinema and the 44th anniversary of the National Film Cooperation which falls on 21 January this year .

The main event will be held on January 21 at 9.00 a.m at the National Film Cooperation under the patronage of the Minister of Parliament reforms and Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilake and the Chairman of the National Film Cooperation Deepal Chandrarathne.

At the event, Pushpajith Niroshan Jayasinghe's book titled "Jalayen yata wu Lokaya" (A translation of The Cinema of David Lynch) will be launched. Also the late Prime Minister Sirimawo Bandaranayaie who is the founder of National Film Cooperation will be honoured at the event. An all night Pirith chanting ceremony will be held on 21st night to invoke blessings on the government and the people of the country.

Parallel to the main function a film show will be held from January 17-20 at the Film Co-operation cinema hall in Colombo 07. Also a workshop to develop a zest for cinema will take place on January 19 at 09.00.a.m. at the Film Co-operation premises for school and University students. The resource personnel will be University lecturers and experts in the cinema field.

Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilake recently participated at the award presenting ceremony of Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation.

Twenty-year service awards and golden awards were presented to the SLRC members at this occasion appreciating their service.

Chairman of SLRC Ravi Jayawardhane also participated.

The government has neither drafted any agreement nor any committee report has been released on the Hambantota Harbour and proposed industrial zone, President Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday.He said the government will not sign agreements with any foreign country or institution that would be detrimental to Sri Lanka’s heritage and dignity. The President said the government will ensure the highest level of transparency when bilateral agreements are signed with foreign nations and institutions.

He added that trhe draft of such agreements would be referred to the Attorney General, Cabinet of Ministers and Parliament for approval before they are ratified by the government. President Sirisena was addressing the 50th anniversary of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation yesterday.

“The people of this country placed immense confidence in me by electing me to the post of Presidency and I will leave no room for the breach of public confidence,” he said. He said certain elements were striving to overthrow the government when it was going forward with more dedication and commitment on a new programme in 2017. “Nobody is allowed to overthrow this government illegally and in contravention of the Constitution till 2020 without a people’s mandate,” he said. “It is the responsibility of those who love this country to allow the government to carry out their activities freely irrespective of the political party they believe,” he said. He stressed that there is no room for power crazy elements to achieve their petty political gains again.

The President requested the people to refrain from propagating false information and unite to rebuild the country through constructive criticism.

President Sirisena opened the administrative complex and refurbished studios of the Corporation. A new postage stamp was also issued to mark the SLBC’s 50th anniversary. Ven. Ittepane Dhammalankara Thera, Ven. Kotugoda Dhammawasa Thera, Media and Parliamentary Reforms Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka ,Deputy Minister Karunarathna Paranavithana and media secretary Nimal Bopage were present.

This year the government is starting a development program with the leadership of the President and Prime Minister, alleviate poverty, reforms in the media sector and establishing of regulatory commissions will also be done said Parliamentary reforms and Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka.
He made these comments addressing the staff after attending religious observances 2nd of January.
We have undertaken to do a major transformation in the media sector by getting the views of the public until January 31 and with the progress of the institutions under the Media ministry we will leapfrog this year said the minister.
People spend most of their time out of home at the office therefore they should be happy at office. We as ministers have created an environment without interferences to work happily. 
Deputy Minister of Parliamentry Reforms and Mass Media Karunarathna Paranavithana also participated.

The foundation stone will be laid today in Horana for the Sri Lanka’s biggest tyre factory which is to be constructed at the BOI industrial zone.

The foundation stone will be laid by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe under the directive of President Maithripala Sirisena.

The entire investment of the project is Rs. 11.25 billion.

The ground breaking ceremony of the vehicle assembly plant of the German auto maker Volkswagen was held in Kuliyapitiya yesterday under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Volkswagen is the second largest car maker in the world. The company will initially assemble vehicles in the 1000cc to 2000cc category and these vehicles will be diesel powered and include passenger cars, Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV), Multi Utility Vehicles (MUV) or commercial vehicles.

Volkswagen AG’s local joint venture partner is Senok Automobiles and the total investment will be US$ 26.5 million.

The project in addition to bringing investor confidence for Sri Lanka and FDI’s will also bring in advanced German automobile technology into the country and create job opportunities for the local youth.

Volkswagen which rose from the ashes of World War II was one of the firms that contributed to the so-called German economic miracle of the country’s social market economy.

The company is best known for iconic models such as Beetle, Golf and Passat.

The year 2017 dawns with new hopes of prosperity, coexistence and reconciliation in our hearts. The twenty two million people of Sri Lanka look forward to an era of sustainability with a determination to alleviate poverty in all its forms.

It is imperative that we overcome the challenges ahead of us. The progress of the human race was pioneered by people who faced challenges with confidence, utmost courage and determination amidst obstacles. Our goals could be achieved if we manage our work efficiently and productively, and do the right thing at the right time with unwavering commitment to serve the greater good.

The adverse effects of climate change show us the imperative need to be prepared for weather uncertainties. We have to be determined this year to live with nature and not above or against it.

I wish all of you a prosperous new year in which the fruits of progress are distributed fairly and the aspirations of the people are fulfilled.

Maithripala Sirisena