'Not intended to control but to give recognition for web journalists' | Daily News

'Not intended to control but to give recognition for web journalists'


The government's move to continue with the registration of news casting websites is not intended to control them, but to give web journalists a recognition to be on par with mainstream journalists, Acting Mass Media and Parliamentary Reforms Minister Karunaratne Paranavithana said.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, he said web journalists once registered with the ministry would be provided with a media identity card allowing them access to press conferences and various other media events.

Paranvithana said they would also be entitled to be benefited by various welfare and training programmes organised for mainstream journalists.

"This move is nothing against the news websites. We want these websites to operate in a responsible manner and under recognised ethics and standards. By registering them with the ministry, we would be responsible for them. This decision was arrived at following requests by web journalists themselves who wanted recognition for themselves," he said.

Asked about the law under which the news websites are required to register, Paranavithana said there is no particular law but there is a court order in this regard in 2012.

"When the Cabinet decided to go ahead with the registration of news casting websites, a group of people went before the Supreme Court. The court ruled that the ministry is legally empowered to get the news casting websites registered as it is a social responsibility," he explained.

The acting minister said the registration of news websites is a continuation of the former government's move in 2012 and added that this was not done to control or censor their content.

"As a policy our government is opposed to blocking of websites. This will not affect media freedom or freedom of expression," Paranavithana said.

He said this move did not apply to news websites operated from overseas and added that there is no hindrance to news content posted on blogs or other social media.

Mass Media and Parliamentary Reforms Ministry Secretary Vajira Narampanawa said about 68 news casting websites have been registered with the ministry since 2012. He said the registration fee of Rs. 25,000 and the annual renewal fee of Rs. 10,000, which were introduced by the previous government remained unchanged. 

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