President assures protection of artists and art

Saturday, 4 July 2020 00:16 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Artists say country lost over $ 20 million for not receiving royalties, laments over no royalties for songs broadcasted over local electronic media
  • President and PM pledge measures at Govt. level to protect rights of artistes
  • Commend low-interest loan facilities, but point to failure in implementation by State banks 
  • Highlight importance of taxing foreign content and pooling it for the benefit of local artistes  
  • Propose allowing foreign movie makers to shoot in local landscapes at cost in dollars

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa assured to extend the fullest assistance to protect artists, integrating them into the local economic environment without waiting the world to win against COVID-19.

The President said the ground work would be created to harness lost opportunities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He made these remarks during a discussion on issues faced by the artistes held at the Presidential Secretariat on Wednesday.

During former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tenure the contribution of artistes was sought for various activities. This was instrumental in artistes from top to bottom to provide their aesthetic contribution, President said.

Prof. Mudiyanse Dissanayaka pointed out the importance of teaching aesthetic subjects up to Ordinary Level (O/L) and Advanced Level (A/L) streams. The President said this proposal would be forwarded to the Task Force on National Education Policy.

The reasons for not receiving royalties by the artistes domestically as well as internationally were discussed in depth. He said the country had lost more than $ 20 million foreign income due this situation. 

The artistes also informed the President that they did not receive royalties for songs broadcasted over local electronic media either. The President and the Prime Minister assured to take measures at the Government level to rectify the situation and to protect the rights of the artistes.

The Government’s decision to offer loans to artistes under a low-interest-rate was admired; however the failure to implement this decision by State banks was also highlighted during the discussion.

Artistes also conveyed the importance of taxing foreign content and pooling it for the benefit of local artistes. It was decided to launch the project proposal to allow foreign movie makers to do their shoots in local landscapes in exchange for foreign currency.

The requirement to look after individual artistes in rural areas at divisional and provincial levels was also discussed. 

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, ministers, relevant officials, a number of movie directors, actors and actresses, singers and lyricists representing the artistic sphere participated in the event.