One hundred and fifteen media personnel were awarded scholarships to enhance their professional performances. A function in this regard was held this week at the Ministry of Mass Media and Information under the chairmanship of the Deputy Minister of Economic Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene.
Speaking at this function the Deputy Minister said that the President gives much importance to the media sector and the media personnel and regularly holds discussions with heads of media institutions and media personnel in order to exchange views and ideas. Suggestions made by media personnel at these meetings are being given due attention.
He pointed out that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the only world leader who maintained a very good rapport with the media by regularly meeting them and listening to them.
Minister Lakshman Yapa pointed out that in the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ policy document and in the ‘Mahinda Chinthana – Future Vision’ programme, an important place has been given to the media personnel with a seven point plan for the improvement of the their life standards. It also emphasises that media should act “for the country’s benefit, development, nationality and social ethics rather than for political purposes”.
He pointed out that in line with these expectations, media personnel have a great and important role to play in enlightening the masses with accurate information and inculcate in them the importance of participation in the development process and raise their opinions against the evil and conspiratory forces working against the country and muster the masses to face pro-LTTE challenges against the country.
He also said that the media personnel should dedicate themselves to improve the knowledge of the citizens and especially the children who would be the leaders of the future generation of this country. Yapa said that in every Budget, the facilities granted to the media personnel have been enhanced and this would be continued in the future as well.
The Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media and Information W.B. Ganegala said that award of scholarships as contained in the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ was started in 2006 with the award of 11 scholarships and this has been gradually increased and from 79 scholarships awarded last year it has been increased to 115 scholarships this year. He said that award is still open for submission of applications.
He said that the recipients have been selected by an independent selection panel of senior media personnel and among the scholarship recipients this year there is one recipient to read a doctorate course, five for graduate courses and several post graduate diploma, diploma and other courses.
He said that the recipients belong to all State and private media institutions in the country as well as freelance journalists and the only criteria applied was being registered as a journalist in the Government Information Department. The scholarships have been awarded subjected to a maximum of Rs. 100,000.