රූපවාහිනී හා ගුවන් විදුලි මාධ්යවලට යොදන පොදු වහර විද්යුත් මාධ්ය යන්නයි. විද්යුත් මාධ්යයක් පවත්වා ගෙන යාමට විකාශන බලපත්රයක් ලැබූ අයකුට අන් මත අභිබවා එම විද්යුත් මාධ්ය තමන්ගේ මතය ප්රචාරය කිරීම පිණිස යොදා ගත හැකිද යන්න සමාජය විසින් බරපතළ ලෙස සාකච්ඡා කල යුතු ප්රශ්නයක් බව මෑත දී ඇතැම් විද්යුත් මාධ්යයක් හැසිරුණු ආකාරයෙන් පෙනී යයි. බොහෝ ප්රජාතන්ත්රවාදී රටවල විද්යුත් මාධ්යයක් පවත්වා ගෙන යාමට විකාශන බලපත්රයක් දෙනු ලබන්නේ එය තමන්ගේ මතය ප්රචාරය කිරීම සඳහා යොදා නො ගත යුතු ය යන අනුල්ලංඝනීය කොන්දේසිය මතයි. නෛතික වශයෙන් පමණක් නොව මාධ්ය සදාචාරය අතින් ද මේ කොන්දේසිය ඉතා වැදගත් වේ. ඒ ඇයි ද යන්න පැහැදිලි කිරීම මේ කෙටි ලිපියේ අරමුණයි.
පුවත් පත් හා තොරතුරු වෙබ් අඩවි වැනි සැම කෙනෙකුට ම වාගේ පවත්වා ගෙන යා හැකි මාධ්ය වර්ග මෙන් නොව විද්යුත් මාධ්ය නාලිකාවක් විකාශනය කිරීම සඳහා මහජන දේපළක් වන විකාශන සංඛ්යාත භාවිතා කිරීමට බලපත්රයක් ලබා ගැනීම අත්යවශ්ය ය. එසේ ලබා දිය හැකි සංඛ්යාත ප්රමාණයෙන් සීමිත බැවින් විද්යුත් මාධ්ය විකාශන බලපත්ර හිමියන්ගේ සංඛ්යාව ද සීමා කළ යුතු වේ. ඒ අනුව විද්යුත් මාධ්ය විකාශන බලපත්ර හිමිකරුවෙකු වීම යන්න ම සමාජයේ අන් අයට නො ලැබෙන විශේෂ වරප්රසාදයකි. මේ වරප්රසාදය සමග බැඳුණු වෘත්තීය හා සමාජ වග වීම් ද වෙයි. ලාභය ලැබීම සිය අරමුණ විය හැකි වුව ද විද්යුත් මාධ්ය බලපත්ර කරුට නිශ්චිත කාලසීමාවක් සඳහා විකාශන සංඛ්යාත පවරා දෙනු ලබන්නේ එමගින් ලබා දෙන තොරතුරු නිරවද්ය ව මෙන් ම පක්ෂග්රාහීත්වයකින් තොර ව ඉදිරිපත් කළ යුතු ය යන කොන්දේසිය ද මුල් කරගෙන යි.
හැම රට වැසියෙකුට ම තම තමන්ට අභිමත මතය විකාශනය තිරීමට අසීමිත විද්යුත් මාධ්ය සංඛ්යාවක් පවත්වා ගෙන යා නො හැක. එනිසා විවාදාත්මක කරුණක් සම්බන්ධයෙන් කරුණු ඉදිරිපත් කරන විට බලපත්ර හිමි විද්යුත් මාධ්යයක් විසින් කළ යුත්තේ තම මතය හිතුවක්කාරී ලෙස මහජනයාට පැටවීමට තැත් කිරීම නොව එම කරුණ ගැන පක්ෂ විපක්ෂ වැදගත් මත නියෝජනය කළ හැකි නියමු මතවාදීන්ගේ, විෂය විශේෂඥයන්ගේ අදහස් හා එකී මතවාද සම්බන්ධයෙන් ඉදිරිපත් කරන ප්රමුඛ විශ්වසනීය ප්රතිචාර සිය අසන්නන්ට හෝ නරඹන්නන්ට දැන ගැනීමට සැලැස්වීමයි. එසේ නැතිව මහජන මතයට ආදේශකයක් ලෙස විද්යුත් මාධ්ය හිමිකරු ගේ මතය තම සේවකයන් ලවා ඉදිරිපත් කිරීම අශික්ෂිත කමකි. මෙම අශික්ෂිත කම නො සලකා හැරිය හොත් විද්යුත් මාධ්ය සඳහා මුදල් ආයෝජනය කළ හැකි බල පුළුවන් කාරයන් අතලොස්සකට තමන්ට අභිමත පරිදි මහජන මතය හැසිරවීමට ඉඩ දීමට සිදු වේ. එය ජනමාධ්ය නිදහස නොවේ.
තමන්ට අභිමත දේශපාලන පක්ෂයකට සහයෝගය දැක්වීමට විද්යුත් මාධ්යයට ඉඩ සලසන වගන්තියක් 19 වන ආණ්ඩුක්රම ව්යවස්ථා සංශෝධනය යටතේ මැතිවරණ පැවැත්වීම පිළිබඳ සකසා තිබූ මුල් කෙටුම් පතක අඩංගු විය. ඹ්නෑම අයකු ට පළ කළ හැකි පුවත් පතකට එවැනි අයිතියක් තිබිය හැකි නමුත් සීමිත මහජන සම්පතක් භාවිතා කරන විද්යුත් මාධ්ය බලපත්රලාභීන් අතලොස්සකට එවැනි බලයක් ලබා දීම සමස්ත මැතිවරණ ක්රියාවලිය ම විකෘත කළ හැකි අකටයුත්තක් බව එකල අපි පෙන්වා දුන්නෙමු. එවැන්නකට ඉඩ දුන්නොත් වාණිජ විද්යුත් මාධ්ය පක්ෂපාතීත් වය ඉහළ ලංසුවකට හෝ වරදාන වලට ලබා ගත හැකි බල පුළුවන් කාරයන් අතලොස්සකට මැතිවරණය වාසිදායක ලෙස හැසිරවිය හැකි ය. අවසානයේ දී වාසනාවකට මෙන් එම යෝජනාව ඉවත් කර ගත්තේ ය.
මාධ්ය මෙහෙයවන්නාගේ මතය ඍජු ලෙස ම ප්රචාරය කිරීමට රජයේ මාධ්ය ද යොදා ගැනීම ද සුලබ දෙයකි. කලකට පෙර රජය සතු විද්යුත් මාධ්යයක සභාපතිවරයා තම ස්වාමීන්ගේ අභිමතයට අනුකූල වන අන්දමට වෙනත් මතවාදීන්ට ඉතා අශ්ලීල ලෙස පහර ගැසීමට සිය මාධ්ය යොදා ගත්තේය. පහර කෑ අයට තම අදහස කියා පෑමට හැකියාවක් නොවී ය.
සංදර්භය වෙනස් විය හැකි වුවත් මෙයට දෙවැනි නොවන මාධ්ය දුරාචාරයක් මෑතක දී නිරීක්ෂණය විය. ඒ සිද්ධියට පාදක වූයේ කිසියම් විකාශන සංඛ්යාත ප්රමාණයක් අයථා ලෙස එක්තරා විද්යුත් මාධ්ය ජාලයකට පවරා ඇතැ‘යි ප්රධාන පෙළේ විපක්ෂ දේශපාලනඥයෙකු විසින් කරන ලදැයි කියන ප්රකාශයකි. එහිදී අදාළ විද්යුත් මාධ්ය සිය ප්රධාන ප්රවෘත්ති ප්රකාශය අතර තුර එම ආයතනයේ සේවකයෙකුට කැමරාව ඉදිරියට කඩා පැනීමට ඉඩ සලස්වා, අඩෝ අපේ ගනු දෙනු හොයන්න උඹ කවුද?. උඹේ දූෂණ ගැන කප්පරක් තොරතුරු අපි ළඟ තියෙනවා, වැනි අදහසක් ගම්ය වන ලෙස එම දේශපාලනඥයාට තර්ජනය කළේ ය. වගකිවයුතු වෘත්තීය ජනමාධ්යයක් නම් එවැනි චෝදනාවක දී කළ යුතු ව තිබුණේ එකී දේශපාලනඥයාගේ චෝදනාව පිළිබඳ ව පිළිතුරු සැපයයි හැකි සුදුසු ම ආයතනය වන විදුලි සංදේශ අධිකාරියේ ප්රතිචාරය නරඹන්නාට දැන ගැනීමට සැලැස්වීම මිස චෝදකයාට චන්ඩි කම් පෙන්වීමට සිය විද්යුත් මාධ්ය බලපත්රය යොදා ගැනීමට නොවේ. ඒ සිදුවීම නරඹන්නන්ගේ සාමාන්ය බුද්ධියට නිගා දෙන සුලු වෘත්තීය දුරාචාරයක් විය.
ලංකාවද ඇතුළුව රටවල් 54 ක විද්යුත් මාධ්ය සංවිධාන නියෝජනය කරන පොදු රාජ්ය මණ්ඩලීය විද්යුත් මාධ්ය සංගමය විසින් නිකුත් කරන ලද මාධ්ය සංස්කරණ මගපෙන්වීම් (Editorial Guidelines) මාලාවට අනුව වාණිජ, දේශපාලනික හා පුද්ගලික බැඳියා මත විද්යුත් මාධ්ය සංස්කාරකයන් වැඩසටහන් අන්තර්ගතය පිළිබඳ සිය තීරණ නො ගත යුතු බවත් වාර්තාකරණයේ දී හා වැඩසටහන් ඉදිරිපත් කිරීමේ දී තමන්ට අභිමත මතයට පක්ෂග්රාහී වීම නො කළ යුතු බවත් වෙසෙසින් සඳහන් වේ.
මෙහි දී පක්ෂග්රාහී නො වීම යන්නෙන් අදහස් කරන්නේ මතභේදයට තුඩු දෙන මාතෘකා සම්බන්ධයෙන් වැඩසටහන් ඉදිරිපත් නොකිරී ම නොවේ. මතභේදාත්මක වැඩසටහන ඉදිරිපත් කළ යුතුමය. එහෙත් එසේ කිරීමේදී විද්යුත් මාධ්ය බලපත්රලාභියාගේ මතය ඉදිරිපත් කිරීමට තැත් කිරීම වෙනුවට කළ යුත්තේ අපක්ෂපාතී ලෙස එවැනි වාද විවාද වලට වේදිකාව සපයාදීමයි. මෙහි දී අදාළ විද්යුත් මාධ්යයේ අපක්ෂපාතී වීම නිරූපණය වන්නේ විවාදයට තුඩු දෙන කරුණ සම්බන්ධයෙන් වඩා වැදගත් වන පක්ෂ, විපක්ෂ මධ්යස්ථ මත ඉදිරිපත් කිරීමට ඉඩ සලසා තමන්ට අභිමත තීරණයකට එළඹීමට අසන්නාට හෝ නරඹන්නාට ඉඩකඩ සැලසීමයි.
එවැනි අවස්ථාවල දී මතභේදයට තුඩු දෙන වැඩසටහන් වල මාතෘකාව බවට පත් විය හැකි පුද්ගලයන්ට හෝ ඔවුන්ගේ නියෝජිතයන්ට ද ඒ වැඩසටහනට සහභාගී වීමට අනිවාර්යයෙන් ම ඇරයුම් කළ යුතුය. එසේ සහභාගි වීම ප්රතික්ෂේප කරන අවස්ථාවල දී ඒ බව වැඩසටහන මෙහෙයවන්නා විසින් නරඹන්නන්ට දැනුම් දෙනු ලැබිය යුතු ය. එහෙත් එවැනි අවස්ථාවල දී සහභාගී නොවන අයගේ මතය නො සලකා හැරීමට හෝ විකෘත කොට දැක්වීමට ඉඩ නො තබා එම මතය පිළිබඳ ව අනෙකුත් සහභාගි වන්නන්ගේ ප්රතිචාරය ලබා ගැනීමට වැඩ සටහන මෙහෙයවන මාධ්ය කරුවාට වෘත්තීය නිපුණත්වය හා අදීන බව තිබිය යුතු ය.
අනෙක් වැදගත් කාරණය එවැනි මතභේද විද්යුත් මාධ්ය ඔස්සේ සාකච්ඡා කිරීමට මැදිහත් වන අය එම කරුණ පිළිබඳ මතවාද පළ කිරීමට සුදුසු ම පුද්ගලයන් බව අසන්නන්ට හා නරඹන්නන්ට දැන ගැනීමට සැලැස්වීමයි. බැලූ බැල්මට ම බලපත්ර හිමියාගේ සේවකයන් මෙන් පෙනෙන තුන් හතර දෙනෙකුට ටයිකෝට් ඇන්ද වීමෙන් ම පමණක් එය ඉටු නොවේ.
කරුණුමය සත්ය විකෘත නො කරණ තාක් කතුවැකි වැනි දෑ මගින් සිය මතය කියා පෑමට පුවත් පතකට අයිතියක් තිබෙන මුත් සීමිත මහජන දේපළක් වන සංඛ්යාත භාවිතා කිරීමට බලපත්රයක් ලබාගත් අයෙකුට හුදෙක් එය තමන්ගේ මතය කියා පෑමට හෝ තහවුරු කිරීමට යොදා ගත නො හැකිය. පුවත්පත් මෙන් නොව මහජන යහපත මුල් කොට විද්යුත් මාධ්ය ස්වාධීනව නියාමනය කිරිමේ දී විද්යුත් මාධ්යයේ අන්තර්ගතය පිළිබඳ සුවිශේෂ කොන්දේසි ඇතුළත් කරන්නේ අයිතියේ ඇති සීමිත බව පමණක් නිසා නොව අන් මාධ්ය හා සසඳන විට තමන් සතු සමාජය ම බලපෑම අවභාවිත කිරීමට විද්යුත් මාධ්යට ඇති හැකියාව ප්රජාතන්ත්රවාදයේ පැවැත්මට තර්ජනයක් විය හැකි බැවිනි.
යට කී නිදර්ශන වලින් පෙනෙන්නේ බලපත්ර හිමියාගේ බලපුළුවන්කාරකම් වලින් තොර වෘත්තීයමය සංස්කරණ නිදහසක් ලංකාවේ විද්යුත් මාධ්ය තුළ සහතික කර නොමැති බව ය. වෘත්තීය සදාචාරය නො තකා බලපත්ර හිමියාගේ අභිමතයට අනුව කටයුතු කිරීමට ඒවායේ සේවයේ නියුතු විද්යුත් මාධ්ය සේවකයන්ට බල කරනු ලැබ තිබේ. විද්යුත් ජන මාධ්ය නිදහසට තර්ජන එල්ල වන්නේ ආණ්ඩු වලින් හා බල කණ්ඩායම් වලින් ම පමණක් නොවේ. තම දේශපාලනික අභිමතය සාක්ෂාත් කර ගැනීමට විද්යුත් මාධ්ය බලපත්ර අවභාවිතකරණ හිමිකරුවන් ද ජනමාධ්ය නිදහසට තර්ජනයකි. ජන මාධ්ය නිදහස කියන්නේ ම සියලු ආකාරයේ බලපෑම් වලින් තොර ව තම ආයතනය තුළ අදීනව සිය වෘත්තීය කටයුතු ඉටු කිරීමට ජනමාධ්යකරුවන්ට ඇති නිදහසට හැර අන් කිසිවකට නොවේ.
මේ නිසා තවමත් නිසි ස්වාධීන විද්යුත් මාධ්ය නියාමන ක්රමයක් නොමැති අපේ රටේ විද්යුත් මාධ්ය ක්ෂේත්රයේ ඇති මෙවැනි අනාචාරීය හැසිරීම් ජනමාධ්ය හිමියන්ගේ හා ජනමාධ්ය කරුවන්ගේ වෘත්තීය සංවිධාන තුළද මහජන සංවිධාන, වෘත්තිකයන්, විද්යාර්ථින් හා දේශපාලන පක්ෂ හා කණ්ඩායම් අතර ද බරපතළ ලෙස සාකච්ඡාවට ලක් විය යුතු ය.
විද්යුත් මාධ්ය බලපත් ලබාදීමේදී අපක්ෂපාතීත්වය සුරැකීම සම්බන්ධ නිසි ක්රියා පටිපාටියක් නොමැති බැවින් ස්වාධීන ආයතනයක් මගින් නියාමන විධිවිධාන යොදන නීතියක් ගෙන එන තෙක් දැනට ඇති නීතිය යටතේ ඒ සඳහා ඇතැම් ප්රජාතන්ත්රවාදී රටවල ක්රියාත්මක වන පහත දැක්වෙන අපක්ෂපාතීත්වය පිලිබඳ විධිවිධාන පිළිපැදීමට බලපත්ර හිමියන්ට නියම කරන ගැසට් පත්රයක් නිකුත් කළ හැකිය. මෙවැනි විධි විධාන ඇතැම් දියුණු ප්රජාතන්ත්රවාදී රටවල ක්රියාත්මක වේ.
DISCUSSION DRAFT – 26 JUNE 2019
PROGRAMME GUIDELINES FOR THOSE WHO HAVE OBTAINED BROADCASTING LICENSES …………….
- All broadcast licensees should adhere to these programme guidelines which are provided to ensure the right of people to receive information which are accurate, credible, comprehensive and presented with due impartiality. Editorial responsibility for all content broadcast by a broadcasting service lies with the licensee.
- Willful violation of these guidelines, which are in force from the date of this gazette, shall be considered as a violation of licensing conditions by the licensee.
4. SPECIAL IMPARTIALITY REQUIREMENT
4.1. The broadcast licensees should adhere to the following impartiality requirements in all broadcast programmes:
- the exclusion, in the case of broadcasting programmes included in any of the broadcasting services offered, of all expressions of the views or opinions of the broadcast licensee on any of the following matters:
- matters of political or industrial controversy;
- matters relating to current public policy; and
- matters influencing the outcome of elections and referendums held in Sri Lanka or any other country.
- the preservation, in the case of every broadcasting service of due impartiality, on the part of the broadcast licensee, as respects all of those matters;
- the prevention, in the case of any broadcasting licensees giving of undue prominence in the programmes included in the service to the views and opinions of particular persons or bodies on any of those matters.
4.2. This special impartiality requirement may be satisfied in relation to a series of broadcast programmes taken as a whole and transmitted within a reasonable period of each other.
4.3. In this regard the meaning of “due impartiality” should be understood in the following manner:
“Due” is an important qualification to the concept of impartiality. Impartiality itself means not favouring one side over another. It requires licensee to be fair and open minded when examining the evidence and weighing all the material facts, as well as being objective and even handed in licensee’s approach to a subject. “Due” means adequate or appropriate to the subject and nature of the programme. Thus, “due impartiality” does not mean an equal division of time has to be given to every view, or that every argument and every facet of every argument has to be represented.
- NEWS, CURRENT AFFAIRS AND OTHER FACTUAL PROGRAMMES
The following requirements are particularly applicable to the news, current affairs and other factual programmes including programmes which contains news and information attributed to other sources such as the newspapers and online news sites.
- Broadcast licensees must report news truthfully, accurately, fairly and without any expression of the broadcaster’s own view.
- News must be presented in the correct context and in a fair manner, without intentional or negligent departure from the facts whether by distortion, exaggeration, misrepresentation, material omissions or summarizations.
- Only that which may reasonably be true, having reasonable regard to the source of the news, may be presented as fact, and such fact must be broadcast fairly with reasonable regard to context and importance.
- Where a report is not based on fact or is founded on opinion, supposition, rumors or allegations, it must be presented in such manner as to indicate clearly that such is the case. Such news judgments should be informed by the best expertise available.
- The reporting in the news should be dispassionate and authoritative. Except for the matters which are subjected to above mentioned special impartiality requirement, a news reporter may express a professional judgement but not a personal opinion and such judgements must not be prescriptive or fail to take account of other views. Such judgements must be backed with clearly presented evidence and be recognised as perceptive and fair.
- Where there is reason to doubt the correctness of the report and it is practical to verify the correctness thereof, the report must be verified. Where such verification is not practical, that fact must be mentioned in the report.
- Where it subsequently appears that a broadcast report was incorrect in a material respect, it must be rectified forthwith, without reservation or delay. The rectification must be presented with such a degree of prominence and timing as in the circumstances may be adequate and fair so as to readily attract attention.
- The identity of rape victims and other victims of sexual violence must not be divulged in any broadcast, whether as part of news or not, without the prior valid consent of the victim concerned.
- Broadcast licensees must advise viewers in advance of scenes or reporting of extraordinary violence, or graphic reporting on delicate subject matter such as sexual assault or court action related to sexual crimes, particularly during afternoon or early evening newscasts and updates.
- News coverage of a demonstrations and public meetings should offer a comprehensive and impartial view. Estimates of attendance – whatever their source – need to be treated with due skepticism. When covering a demonstration, the broadcaster should be aware that the presence of cameras may influence the way people behave. Such coverage should not normally be used in the news and current affair programmes, but if its nature makes it necessary to report it, then reference should be made to how it occurred.
- Broadcast licensees must not include explicit or graphic language related to news of destruction, accidents or sexual violence which could disturb children or sensitive audiences, except where it is in the public interest to include such material.
- Depicting trauma in the case of a suffering should not add to the distress of people who already know of their loss.
- The licensee should ensure that the broadcast treatment of current affairs, including matters which are either of public controversy or the subject of current public debate, is fair to all interests concerned and that the broadcast matter is presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of the broadcaster’s own views.
- When audience might reasonably expect to hear counter-arguments or where an individual, viewpoint or political party is not represented in a programme the licensee should explain the absence. This should be done in terms that are fair to the missing contributor. The presenter of the programme should consider whether he or she can represent their views based on what they already know. The licensee should strive not to misrepresent or to exclude a missing view altogether.
- In regard to the broadcast programmes the licensee must check and verify information, facts and documents, including those researched on the internet or gathered through any other sources. This should include confirming with an individual or organisation that they posted material and that it is accurate.
- The ability to digitally create, manipulate and copy audio-visual material, including still photographs, video and documents poses ethical dilemmas and creates the potential for hoaxing. Therefore, the broadcaster should ensure that any digital manipulation, including the use of production techniques to create scenes or characters, does not distort the meaning of events, alter the impact of genuine material or otherwise seriously mislead the audience.
- In the broadcast programmes the licensee should identify on air and online sources of information and significant contributors, as well as providing their credentials, so that the audiences can judge their status.
- The licensee should not broadcast any material in which allegations are made against another person or organisation without ensuring the following:
- the accuracy of the facts contained in the allegations, including in the statements attributed to the others;
- whether the story is of significant public interest;
- whether the source is of proven credibility and reliability and in position to have sufficient knowledge of the events and facts featured in the allegation;
- whether a response to allegations has been sought by the licensee from those people or organisations who have been subjected to the allegations;
- When a broadcast programme make allegations of wrong doing, iniquity or incompetence or lay out a strong and damaging critique of an individual or institution those criticized should be given a “right of reply”, that is, given a fair opportunity to respond to the allegations before the broadcast. The licensee’s request for a response must be properly logged with the name of the person approached and the key elements of the exchange. The licensee should always describe the allegations in sufficient detail to enable an informed response. The response should be reflected fairly and accurately and should normally be broadcast in the same programme, or published at the same time, as the allegation.
- When broadcast drama realistically portrays living people in contemporary situations, particularly a controversial or sensitive event, the same standards of fairness which apply to factual programmes should generally be observed. It is inevitable that the creative realization of some dramatic elements such as characterization, dialogue and atmosphere, will introduce a fictional dimension, but Broadcast licenseeshave an obligation to be accurate and to ensure the drama does not unduly distort the known facts and thus become unfair.
6.1`. The Broadcast licenseesmust not infringe privacy of individuals unless their justifiable overiding public interest involved. It is essential to respects an individual’s privacy and treats them fairly, while investigating and establishing matters which it is in the public interest to reveal. Private behaviour, correspondence and conversation should not be brought into the public domain unless there is a clear public interest. The Broadcast licenseesshould
- balance the public interest in freedom of expression with the legitimate expectation of privacy by individuals.
- balance the public interest in the full and accurate reporting of stories involving human suffering and distress with an individual’s privacy and respect for their human dignity and the right to grieve in private.
- justify intrusions into an individual’s private life without consent by demonstrating a clear public interest.
- normally only report the private legal behavior of public figures where broader public issues are raised either by the behavior itself or by the consequences of its becoming widely known.
- in the protection of privacy, dignity and reputation special weight must be afforded to the privacy, dignity and reputation of children, the aged and the physically and mentally disabled.
- The fact of publication by other media does not justify the Broadcast licenseesreporting it.
6.2. An individual’s right to privacy is also qualified by their behavior. People are less entitled to privacy where their behavior is criminal or seriously anti-social.
6.7. The people in a public place cannot expect the same degree of privacy as in their homes. They run the risk of being spotted by any one and that means they may be spotted by cameras or recorded by microphones. In general broadcasters should operate openly in public where they can see and be seen.
6.8. Although broadcaster may not able to guarantee that the broadcasting of recording made in public will not cause individual embarrassment, broadcaster should not intend that to be a consequence unless they are engaged in clearly anti-social activity.
6.9. On private property – and specially in their homes- people may reasonably expect not to be watched or listened to by a broadcaster. Therefore:
- Broadcasters should not plant an unattended recording device on private property without permission of the owner, occupier or their legitimate agent unless for the purpose of gaining evidence of serious crime. The broadcaster should obtain prime facie evidence that the crime has been planned or committed by those who are the subject of the recording.
- It is necessary for the broadcaster to show why an open approach would be unlikely to succeed and why the material is needed in programme terms. Each such case must be approved by the Head of the Programmes
- Prominent public figures must expect media attention when they become the subject of news stories, but the open an apparent use of cameras or other equipment on public property aimed at recording them on private property must be appropriate to the importance of the story and must respect the rights of public figures to a proper level of privacy.
- Normally the programmes should cover funerals only when the permission of the family ha ben obtained. Justification of overriding public interest requirement is needed if the wishes of the family are to be ignored. In any event, the funerals should be covered sensitively, and should avoid intrusive conduct, such as close camera shots of people who are grieving.
- When a broadcaster want to record for possible broadcast a telephone call to which the broadcaster is one of the parties the broadcaster should normally seek agreement of the other party in advance, unless there is an overriding public interest involved in recording the conversation without seeking prior consent.
6.9. The definition of public interest mention in these guidelines includes but is not confined to:
- exposing or detecting crime.
- exposing significantly anti-social behavior.
- exposing corruption or injustice.
- disclosing significant incompetence or negligence.
- protecting people’s health and safety.
- preventing people from being misled by some statement or action of an individual or organisation.
- disclosing information that allows people to make a significantly more informed decision about matters of public importance
- Personal View Programmes:
Factual programmes that allow a single individual or group to offer a coherent though partial view of an issue can add significantly to public understanding, especially when they bring forward unusually and rarely heard perspectives on topics that are well known from orthodox viewpoints.
- The licensee must ensure that while these programmes may be partial, they are also accurate and fair and does not misrepresent the opposing viewpoints.
- The licensee should ensure to make clear to the audience the nature of the personal view programme so that people should be in no doubt that they are viewing or listening to a viewpoint.
- Since reactions to the personal view programmes may be instructive as well, the licensee should consider suitable opportunities for credible responses in good time and in appropriate programmes.
- Interviewing – even handedness
- Licensee should ensure that broadcast interviews should be searching and to the point. They should always be wells mannered, not aggressive, hectoring or rude, whatever the provocation and the subject. The licensee should adhere to the following requirements in broadcast interviews.
- anyone expressing contentious views in the programmes are rigorously tested by the interviewer without appearing to be emotional or threatening.
- when a testing interview becomes charged, the emotion should come from the interviewee and not from the interviewer.
- interviewers in programmes covered by the special impartiality requirement should not cross the line and appear to viewers and listeners personally to be sympathetic to a particular position.
- The behavior of the interviewer should enable listeners and the viewers to regard the interviewer as working on their behalf.
- The interviewer should appear though minded, sharp, skeptical and sufficiently informed – but not partial, committed or emotionally attached to one side of an argument.
- The interviewer should not ask questions which attempt to disorientate an interviewee such as “Are you in this mess because you are dishonest or just foolish?” or questions which tackle people unfairly.
- The interviewer should ensure to reveal any evasion by the interviewee coolly and politely – if necessary by repeating the question and explaining to the interviewee and to the audience why the previous answer did not address it.
- The tone and approach for ordinary people who find themselves as interviews has to be appropriate. They are not likely to be experience in broadcasting and Broadcast licensees need to make sure they are not talked down to nor intimated by brusque questioning.
- Some interviews are important for elucidation and the techniques appropriate to this purpose are different from those used to test the stance of public figures on controversial issues. The people interviewed as eyewitnesses or as experts may need to be encouraged rather than challenged.
- The people in a state of distress must not be put under any pressure to provide interviews against their wishes.
- When editing of recorded Interview and extracts are to be included in an edited report, interviewees should be dealt with fairly. This includes telling them that their contributions will be edited, bear in mind that the editing process can give rise to disputes between interviewees and the broadcaster.
- If an interviewee is being asked or provided an opportunity to reply to detailed criticism the licensee should ensure that the interviewee is given an opportunity to respond to each of the main points aired in the programme. Care should also be taken to reflect in the edited programme the points of substance made by the interviewee in the full recording. Choosing only the weaker responses of an interview in preference to effective rebuttal is unfair. Overall, a reasonable person, seeing or hearing the interview both in full and edited form, should conclude that it has been edited fairly.
- Recorded interviews should be well focused and where possible they should be of a length appropriate to the likely amount of material to be included in the finished programme. Using only brief extracts from long and unfocused interviews can cause justified ill-feeling.
- REPORTING FROM THE COURTS
- The broadcaster should avoid broadcasting any material that might give rise to a substantial risk that the course of justice will be seriously impeded or prejudiced. The licensee should avoid the following hazard of contempt during the active period of the case which ends once sentence is passed on a criminal case and on judgement in a civil case:
- broadcasting pictures or comments which could influence, those involved (witnesses, judges, jurors, lawyers, and parties in the action)
- broadcasting of detailed account of evidence likely to be given in a case which would run the risk of contempt if broadcast during the active period.
- broadcast of material which could effect the way in which one of the parties conducts the case.
- broadcasting an interview with a witness before the case is over.
- having dealings with witnesses which might influence or be though likely to influence their evidence
- speaking to a juror in a case about the case at any time, before during or after the hearing – this applies whether or not the report is actually transmitted.
- reporting what judge has forbidden to be reported.
- speculating about the outcome of the case.
- commenting on a case due for retrial.
- publishing material of general nature about the courts capable of undermining confidence in the conduct of a particular cas
- publishing what is said in court in the absence of a jury.
- RECORDING FOR COMEDY OR ENTERTAINING CONTENT
- The following principles should be adhered to gathering programme material for the purpose of the comedy or light entertainment:
- the people who feature prominently in the recordings should be asked to give their permission before the material is broadcast.
- the purpose should not be to expose people to hurtful ridicule or to exploit them
- the broadcaster should respect the wishes of the individual who become aware of the recording and ask for it to stop.
- the broadcaster should give assurance of any material recorded if such assurances are sought.
- the broadcaster should obtain permission from the owners or occupiers before recrding on private property.
- BROADCASTING OPINION POLLS
The polls tell nothing about future shifts in opinion. They are based on what a sample of people tells the pollsters at a given point in time. Therefore, broadcasters should not say that an opinion poll proves or shows what the nature at large is thinking. When the polls are accurate, they indicate or suggest what people were saying at the time the field work was done.
- Once an election is declared by the election commission the broadcaster should not broadcast results of any opinion poll which might influence the outcome of the elections.
- The broadcasters should not commission exit polls for use on air before the results of an election is officially declared.
- When reporting on polls in other circumstances broadcasters should not rely on the interpretations given to a poll’s results by the publication or organisation which commissioned it. Instead broadcasters should look at the sample size, representativeness, methodologies, framing of questions, data and interpretation of data with the assistance of independent experts before deciding to air the information gathered through such polls.
- Broadcasters should not use the language which gives greater credibility to the polls than they merit – results never “prove” or even “show”, they simply “suggest”
- When reporting on polls the broadcaster should:
- mention who commissioned and who carried out the poll
- mention the size of the sample and how representativeness was it.
- whether it was a random sample or a quota sample
- the margin of error.
- BROADCASTING OF ADVERTISMENTS
- Licensee should ensure that all advertisements comply with the laws of Sri Lanka and that no broadcast advertisement is misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive the consumer. All broadcasting advertisements should be prepared with and observe a high standard of social responsibility to the consumer and to the society. The licensee should adhere to the following guidelines when broadcasting advertisements.
- Identification – Advertisements should be clearly distinguishable as such, whatever their form and whatever the programme used; when an advertisement appears in a programme which contains news or editorial matter, it must be presented so that it is readily recognised as an advertisement.
- Truthful Presentation – Advertisements should not contain any statement or visual presentation or create an overall impression which directly or by implication, omission, ambiguity or exaggerated claim is misleading or deceptive, is likely to deceive or mislead the consumer, makes false and misleading representation, abuses the trust of the consumer or exploits his/her lack of experience or knowledge. (Obvious hyperbole, identifiable as such, is not considered to be misleading).
- Research, Tests and Surveys – Advertisements should not use tests and surveys, research results or quotations from technical and scientific literature, in a manner which is misleading or deceptive.
- Decency – Advertisements should not contain anything which clearly offends against generally prevailing community standards of decency taking into account the context, audience and product (including services).
- Offensiveness – Advertisements should not contain anything which in the light of generally prevailing community standards is likely to cause serious or widespread offence taking into account the context, medium, audience and product (including services).
- Fear – Advertisements should not exploit the superstitious, nor without justifiable reason, play on fear.
- Violence – Advertisements should not contain anything which lends support to unacceptable violent behavior.
- Denigration – Advertisements should not denigrate identifiable products or competitors.
- Testimonials – Advertisements should not contain or refer to any personal testimonial unless it is genuine, current, related to the experience of the person giving it and representative of typical and not exceptional cases. The claims in the testimonial should be verifiable.
- Privacy – Unless prior permission has been obtained an advertisement should not portray or refer to any persons, whether in a private or public capacity, or refer to any person’s property, in a way likely to convey the impression of a genuine endorsement.
- Advocacy Advertising – Expression of opinion in advocacy advertising is an essential and desirable part of the functioning of a democratic society. Therefore, such opinions may be robust. However, opinion should be clearly distinguishable from information. The identity of an advertiser in matters of public interest or political issue should be clear.
- Safety – Advertisements should not, unless justifiable on educational or social grounds, contain any visual presentation or any description of dangerous or illegal practices or situations which encourage a disregard for safety.
- Children: Advertisements should not by implication, omission, ambiguity or exaggerated claim mislead or deceive or be likely to mislead or deceive children, abuse their trust or exploit their lack of knowledge or without reason play on fear.
- 2. Licensee should ensure that political advertisement during election times follows the guidelines issued by the Election Commission.
- Licensee should ensure that the maximum hourly advertising which may be carried by a broadcasting service shall in no case exceed fifteen (15) minutes in any given hour, provided that, for this purpose, sponsorship shall not be deemed to constitute advertising.
- CHILDREN AND JUVENILE PARTICIPANTS
13.1. The Broadcast licensees must not broadcast material which is harmful or disturbing to children at times when a large number of children is likely to be part of the audience,
13.2. The Broadcast licensees must exercise particular caution, as provided below, in the depiction of violence in children’s programming,
- In children’s programming portrayed by real-life characters, violence may, whether physical, verbal or emotional, only be portrayed when it is essential to the development of a character and plot. 4.
- Animated programming for children, while accepted as a stylized form of storytelling which may contain non-realistic violence, must not have violence as its central theme, and must not incite dangerous imitation,
- Programming for children must with reasonable care deal with themes that could threaten their sense of security when portraying, for example, domestic conflict, death, crime or the use of drugs or alcohol.
- Programming for children must with reasonable care deal with themes which could influence children to imitate acts which they see on screen or hear about, such as the use of plastic bags as toys, tile use of matches or the use of dangerous household objects as toys.
- Programming for children must not contain realistic scenes of violence which create the impression that violence is the preferred or only method to resolve conflict between individuals.
- Programming for children must not contain realistic scenes of violence which minimise or gloss over the effect of violent acts. Any realistic depictions of violence must portray, in human terms, the consequences of that violence to its victims and its perpetrators.
- Programming for children must not contain frightening or otherwise excessive special effects not required by the story line.
- Offensive language, including profanity and other religiously insensitive material, must not be broadcast in programmes specially designed for children.
- No excessively or grossly offensive language should be used at times when a large number of children is likely to be part of the audience on television or radio.
13.3. Due care must be taken over the physical and emotional welfare and the dignity of people under eighteen who take part or are otherwise involved in programmes. This is irrespective of any consent given by the participant or by a parent, guardian or other person over the age of eighteen in loco parentis.
13.4. People under eighteen must not be caused unnecessary distress or anxiety by their involvement in programmes or by the broadcast of those programmes.
13.5. Prizes aimed at children must be appropriate to the age range of both the target audience and the participants.
- EMERGENCY APPEALS AND COVERING DISASTERS:
14.1. All emergency appeals, in the case of natural disasters and serious emergencies should be broadcast in consultation with the respective agencies responsible of dealing with such disasters and emergencies.
14.2. Any funds or material collected and disbursed through such appeals should be audited and reported to the ministry which grants the broadcasting license within a four months period from such appeal is made.
- In covering accidents and disasters licensees need to balance full accurate report against the obligation to avoid causing any unnecessary distress or anxiety.
- In covering accidents and disasters emphasis should be placed on providing, swiftly and accurately basic factual material such as time, location, rote and flight number etc. as they serve to narrow the are of anxiety for viewers and listeners.
- Such incidents being covered live call fo special care. Broadcast commentary must not be alarmist and description of horrific events should be measured so that it will not provoke to create violent responses. Camera work must be thoughtful and closed up shots should be included only when fully justified.
- RIGHT OF REPLY
- Those who consider that they have suffered damaged to their legitimate interests, and their reputation and good name, as a consequence of the distortion of facts in a broadcast shall have the right to reply in the broadcasting service concerned or to another equivalent remedy. The aggrieved party should seek right to reply from the broadcaster within 14 days of the relevant broadcast.
- Replies shall be published or made available immediately after reasons have been advanced in support of a request to this effect. Replies shall be published or presented, irrespective of the form of the broadcast programme, in such a manner as to command attention.
- The licensee shall not seek payment for publishing the reply or making it available.
- The licensee may reject a request to reply where:
- the reply exceeds the time considered necessary to rectify the facts of the case;
- the reply contains other content and/or more content than that which rectifies the facts that have been publicised by the licensee;
- the reply contains content that violates the Penal Code and is of such a nature as to involve the licensee in compensatory liability, or is contrary to public morals;
- the reply infringes the legally protected interests of a third party;
- the interested parties are unable to demonstrate that they have personal legally protected interests at stake, or
- the information broadcast by the licensee consists of direct citations of content originating from the president, parliament, government authorities or courts of law.
- A rejection under the above section shall be announced to the party in question within 72 hours of the submission of the request to make a reply.
- If a Licensee rejects a request to make a reply or fails to respond to a party’s request within the time limit stated there, the party in question may refer the matter to the licencing authority , who shall decide whether or not to grant the party a right of reply.
- The licensing authority shall render its decision within a week of receiving the request and shall require the Licensee concerned to communicate the reply without delay where appropriate.
- Those who consider that their rights have been violated and who are entitled to make a reply under the first and second paragraphs of this section shall be provided, free of charge, with a copy of the content in question. Disputes regarding entitlement to content according to this paragraph may also be referred to the Licensing Authority
- Licensees shall indicate on their website or in another public manner where parties may apply if they consider that their lawful interests have been damaged. The name, telephone number and/or email address of the media service provider’s contact person shall be indicated.
- PRESERVATION OF BROADCAST PROGRAMMES
16.1. Broadcast licensees should keep recordings of all programme broadcasts. The television recordings have to be kept for 90 days from the broadcast; radio recordings for 42 days. When a programme is repeated the period starts from the day of the repeat.
16.2. All broadcasters are obliged to provide a true copy of the broadcast programme free of charge whenever requested by the Licensing Authority.