Silent anti-tobacco campaign gaining ground

4df0b2fb196c3110dcba5f613b3ba0c0_MBy Arthur Wamanan

While arguments and counter-arguments continue on the recent Court of Appeal judgment on the percentage of pictorial warnings on cigarette packets, a group of medical officers, together with villagers have been silently conducting awareness programs to change the mindset of people with regard to tobacco.

This probably is the first program of its kind in Sri Lanka where officials, villagers and community leaders got together to make a change while being with the people. A team of medical officers in several parts of the Moneragala District have got together with villagers, community leaders and religious leaders to change the people’s attitude towards tobacco and cigarettes.
This awareness program has been conducted over the past one and a half years in several areas including Buttala, Maharagama and Wellawaya Pradeshiya Sabha Divisions. During the initial stages, the awareness campaign did not target tobacco usage or smoking. Continue reading →

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Ball in Dhanapala’s court

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Pic courtesy AFP

By Arthur Wamanan

Media representatives and rights groups will come together tomorrow (May 5) to sign a public petition to legalize the Right to Information Bill. With World Press Freedom Day commemorated yesterday (May 03), media representatives and rights groups are once again abuzz calling for assurance of freedom of speech and ensure security to media personnel.

The media in Sri Lanka has faced its problems over the years and still continue to do so. The blocking of news website Colombo Telegraph in Sri Lanka has once again raised concerns over freedom of speech and right to information.
The site has been inaccessible through almost all major internet service providers including Dialog, Mobitel and Etisalat. However, the issue here is not with the service providers. Continue reading →