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Govt committee to review foreign teledramas

Imported and dubbed foriegn TV shows will now be reviewed by a government committee/Facebook.com

The government has appointed a committee to review foreign teledramas that are broadcast in Sri Lanka the Media Ministry announced Thursday.

In a press release published on the government portal News.lk the Ministry said that the committee will be examining the imports.

It said Media Minister Bandula Gunewardene made the appointments.

There were no details released about the mandate of the committee.

Currently, most Sri Lankan channels import such teledramas and dub them in Sinhala or subtitle them.

Many of them have been runaway successes. “Oshin” the Japanese teledrama which was dubbed in Sinhala created a new audience for TV which watched this quality play faithfully for years. Oshin was gifted to Rupavahini by the Japanese government.

Athula Ransirilal, Director Dubbing of the Rupavahini Corporation wrote in a paper presented to the Japan Media Communications Centre (JAMCO) that there is a “steady inflow of foreign dramas due to the declining quality of local dramas and globalization.”

The imports are a threat to the local producers of these soap operas. As a result, the then government in 2004 import duties and taxes on these dramas to level the playing field. These taxes in various forms are imposed at present.

Industry leaders in Sri Lanka are uncomfortable with such review committees.

Laksiri Wickremage, Deputy Chairman of Derana TV, says television is a live medium and cannot be subjected to pre-censorship. “This is not the spirit and reality of TV,” he told EconomyNext.

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He pointed out that the local teledrama industry needs to rejig itself. “At the moment the independent producers come to the channels with a fully completed series,” he says.

“If the series is not of acceptable quality then it gets rejected,” he says. The internationally accepted norm is for channels to commission a series, or to order a pilot to be produced for content to be judged.

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