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Friday July 12th, 2024

Sri Lanka Pediatricians urge caution on reporting traumatic incidents related to children

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s collective of paediatricians point out that responsible media coverage should safeguard fundamental rights and privacy of children in the country.

The Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians issued a statement underscoring the importance of protecting the rights, dignity, and privacy of children in the country, after the tragic deaths of two 15-year-olds.

Ensuing media coverage of the incident included CCTV footage, photos and unsubstantiated stories about the two teens broadcasted.

“In trying to dramatize the incident, the rights of the children have been brutally violated and the basic principle of respecting the dead has been sadly and totally forgotten,” SLCP said.

SLCP pointed out that an association between sensationalized media reportage and subsequent increase in suicidal behaviour is well documented in the medical literature.

The statement in full:

Letter written to Honourable Ranil Wickremesinghe, Executive President of Sri Lanka by the Council and Child Protection Committee of Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians (SLCP)

The media reportage of traumatic incidents pertaining to children

The members of the Council and the Child Protection Committee of the Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians, together with the membership of the college, wish to submit a statement expressing our gravest concerns regarding the media (print and electronic) handling of incidents pertaining to children in the country.

The recent incident that took place on July 2, 2024, which led to the most unfortunate deaths of two young children, compels us to make this statement now and to appeal to all media organizations to refrain from sensationalizing such acts.

We note with utter dismay the detailed and sensationalized reporting of the said incident using CCTV coverage.

The two children are easily identified in the clips shown.

In trying to dramatize the incident, the rights of the children have been brutally violated and the basic principle of respecting the dead has been sadly and totally forgotten.

Children watching such incidents are known to be traumatized.

We as Paediatricians, have had to help children who have presented with behaviour changes and psychosomatic symptoms following the exposure of these young minds to detailed traumatic experiences on TV and other forms of media in the past.

Frequent and detailed reports of such acts can induce children to consider such incidents as “normal” behavior in the young and undeveloped minds of individuals watching such reports.

This is especially so in adolescents in whom impulse control is still immature.

Adolescents are especially vulnerable to such influences and the tendency to imitate such behaviour is higher amongst them.

For example, an association between sensationalized media reportage and subsequent increase in suicidal behaviour is well documented in the medical literature.

In addition, does the media have a right to disrespect the next of kin who are trying to grapple with a huge problem? Should their emotions and feelings not be considered?

Two children from two families are dead. There are grieving parents, siblings, friends, teachers etc who are exposed to the details of the last few moments of the lives of these children on earth.

What impact would this detailed reportage have on such individuals? Details of where the children lived are also being shown and highlighted.

Such incidents of insensitive media reporting keep happening at regular intervals in the country.

Media personnel should be more sensitive to such issues in future.

We implore you, as the Minister of Women and Child Affairs to look into this matter and take urgent remedial action for the future welfare of the children of our country.
(Colombo/Jul8/2024)

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Sri Lanka appoints new Attorney General

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed K A Parinda Ranasinghe PC as Attorney General.

He was appointed in terms of Article 61E (b) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, the president’s media division said.

The new AG received the appointment from President Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat on Friday.

He fills the post after the retirement of former Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam. (Colombo/Jul12/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes stronger at 301.70/302.00 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed stronger at 301.70/302.00 to the US dollar on Friday, from 302.80/303.00 to the US dollar on Thursday, dealers said, while bond yields were up.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.90/11.00 percent, up from 10.85/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2027 closed at 11.75/80 percent, up from 11.80/88 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 closed at 11.90/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.10/30 percent, up from 12.15/25 percent. (Colombo/Jul12/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close up, muted activity

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Friday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.35 percent, or 41.71 points, at 11,843; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed up 0.56 percent, or 19.20 points, at 3,454.

Turnover was low at 653 million.

“The market picked up a bit from yesterday but it’s still below the psychological 12,000 mark,” Softlogic Stockbrokers said.

“Local retail participation drove the market predominantly.”

John Keells Holdings Plc brought in Rs109mn to the turnover, and the share closed flat at 194.50.

Melstacorp Plc contributed in Rs104mn to the turnover, and the share closed flat at 85.00.

Sentiment around the banking counters was mostly negative. Sampath Bank Plc closed down at 77.00, closed flat at 101.25, and Hatton National Bank Plc closed flat at 195.25.

The top contributors to the ASPI were Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc (up at 103.50), Bukit Darah Plc (up at 397.00), and Hayleys Plc (up at 101.00).

Foreign participation remained low as well. There was a higher net foreign outflow of 101 million.

“Foreign selling was seen on John Keells Holdings, and banking counters; Hatton National Bank Plc (down at 195.00), Pan Asia Banking Corporation Plc (down at 20.70), and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc.

There was selective foreing interest on the diversified financials sector, particularly in companies that had vehicle leasing portfolios. “We think this might be due to the news of the vehicle import ban possibly ending.”

LOLC Holdings Plc closed up at 440.50, People’s Leasing and Finance Plc closed up at 12.20.

Softlogic Holdings Plc which announced the date of its rights issue, closed up at 8.50. (Colombo/Jul12/2024)

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