Information Minister to reduce registration and annual fees of the News Website
Mass Media and Information Minister Dr. Keheliya Rambukwelle said that he is planning to reduce the initial registration fee for news website by one fourth of the amount earlier announced and the annual fee by a sizeable amount.
Earlier it was announced that the News websites will be charged a registration fee of 100,000 rupees, and an annual fee of 50,000 rupees, under changes to be brought to a 1973 law brought to control media.
Minister Dr. Keheliya Rambukwelle told Asian Tribune that he has already taken up the matter with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and will put up soon a Cabinet paper to bring down the fees.
Earlier it was decided to bring laws to make registration of news websites with the state compulsory and charge annual renewal fees. The new law is to come into effect on August 1, 2012.
Minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said that he is planning to increase soon the Press Council fees.
He said print and electronic media can be monitored and regulated by the Sri Lanka Press Council Act, websites are not monitored by the Act.
“It is an exception since those monitoring regulations don’t cover websites. Considering these issues, the government decided that laws with regard to the media will be amended making registration of news websites compulsory by law,” he said.
The Sri Lanka Press Council is a statutory institution established under the Sri Lankan Press Council Act number 05 of 1973, which comes under the purview of the Mass Media and Information Ministry.
A code of ethics for journalists has been introduced as rules by the gazette extraordinary number 162/5 A of October 14, 1981.
The Press Council performs its duty with a vision to protect press freedom in Sri Lanka and to popularize press freedom as a cultural element for national development.
The minister further said the Press Council Act will be amended introducing new regulations, etiquette and guidelines aimed at streamlining websites. It has been revealed that certain websites carry out mudslinging campaigns against politicians, artistes and other reputed personalities.
- Asian Tribune -