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Dhaka-Colombo for fair Mass media: Sri Lankan side expressed interest in learning from the experience of Bangladesh in introducing Community Radio.

Information Minister H E Hasanul Haq Inu, MP and Sri Lankan Massmedia and Information Minister H E Gayantha Karunathilaka voiced together on keeping the mass media free from religious militancy and inappropriate contents in order to uphold democracy.

They also agreed in principle to conclude a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on sharing of content between state-owned news agencies, television and radio as well as producing cinema in joint venture as Bangladesh Information Minister called on his counterpart in Colombo Wednesday morning.

Hasanul Haq Inu is on a two-day visit to Sri Lanka heading a government delegation aimed at enhanced cooperation between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in mass-media sector and sharing technical experiences in related field.

The two Ministers laid emphasis on the need of training of officials engaged in the institutions of information and media, and of regular holding of film festivals in each other’s country. Sri Lankan side expressed interest in learning from the experience of Bangladesh in implementing Right to Information Act and in introducing Community Radio.

Massmedia and Information Secretary Karunarathne Paranavithana and high officials of the ministry were present from the Sri Lankan side. Bangladesh officials present at the call on included Additional Secretary of Ministry of Information S. M. Haroon-Or-Rashid, High Commissioner Tarik Ahsan, Sr. Deputy Principal Information Officer Mahfuzur Rahman Malangi and BTV Engineer Md. Kamaluddin.

This was the first Ministerial level bilateral visit taking place between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka after the new government in Sri Lanka took office following the Presidential election in January 2015.

Sri Lanka, an island country of 65,610 sq km (little less than half the size of Bangladesh), with a population of about 21 million has 21 terrestrial, 29 satellite television, 72 radio channels and about 12 national daily newspapers.

Now 15 Community Radio Stations are on-air in the country, aiming to ensure empowerment and right to information for the rural community. They are broadcasting altogether 125 hours program per day on information, education, local entertainment and development motivation activities. Around 1000 Youth Women & Youth are now working with those stations throughout the country as rural broadcasters within 5.5 million rural people in 68 upazillas under 14 districts. Another 17 Community radio will join the on air by December 2016.

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) actively works to improve recognition of the community electronic media sector [Community Radio | Community TV | Community Film] & its work in and involvement with the communities it seeks to serve. BNNRC represent the community electronic media sector to Government, Industry, Regulatory Bodies, Media, Academia and Development Partners from 2000.

The BNNRC provides leadership and support for rural initiators to facilitate independent electronic community broadcasting services and to build and strengthen rural communities with the support from Free Press Unlimited.