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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2428

Historic media Serendipity for Lankan Muslims unveiled in Colombo

Colombo, 16 December, (Asiantribune.com):

As the promoters of the pioneering venture declared that their effort would remain independent and apolitical, Sri Lanka’s first mass media outlet aimed at the country’s 1.9 Mn Muslim community was unveiled on 16 December in Colombo-and Muslim Media Forum, an influential Muslim community voice in Sri Lanka called the effort a ‘historic event.’ “This is indeed a historic occasion. We are totally apolitical, inclusive and not in any way divisive. From today, the voice of Lankan Muslims will extend to electronic and online methods as well” said Faiz Mustafa (Senior President's Counsel) on 16 December in Colombo.

Snr President's Counsel Mustafa was addressing the launch event of the non-profit National News Agency Ltd, the operator of Sri Lanka’s first mass media outlet exclusively focused on the country’s Muslim community. National News Agency would operate the Tamil language Serendib TV Channel (the first ever TV channel to totally focus on Lankan Muslims), Tamil language daily newspaper ‘Serendib’ (the first ever daily Tamil newspaper for Lankan Muslims), and Serendib Radio Channel (the first ever radio channel for Lankan Muslims), all exclusively aimed at the Muslim community of Sri Lanka. Also present at the launch of Serendib TV, newspaper and Radio Channel at Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo on 16 December were Basil Rajapaksa (Economic Development Minister), Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce), Karu Jayasuriya (Member of Parliament), M Imtiaz (Chairman, National News Agency Ltd, operating firm of Serendib TV and media), Bin Saleh Al Dawood (Representative of World Muslim League), A. J. M. Muzammil (Mayor of Colombo), Faiz Mustafa (Senior President's Counsel), Rauf Hakeen (Minister of Justice) as well as many members of the diplomatic community in Colombo.

• Pioneering multi-media effort for Lankan Muslims unveiled
• ‘New voice for Lankan Muslims’-Snr Pr. Counsel Mustafa
• ‘A historic event’-Muslim Media Forum

“This is indeed a historic occasion. We are totally apolitical, inclusive and not in any way divisive. I am glad that both MP Karu Jayasuriya and Minister Basil Rajapaksa have found time to be present here today despite engaging busily” said Snr President's Counsel Mustafa, and added: “We too will be voting and will be voting for the right candidate. "

"Your presence is an inspiration. We Muslims owe a debt of gratitude to Minister Basil Rajapaksa who looked after our safety during Aluthgama incident. We have been discussing the need for a separate media institution for Muslim people of Sri Lanka since there is minimal coverage we have for issues affecting Muslim of Sri Lanka. I wish to pay a tribute Muslim Media Forum’s MLM Ameen and publisher M Rizwy for maintaining the sole Tamil publication for Muslims in Sri Lanka, Navamani, under trying circumstances purely for the cause and not for cash. From today, the voice of Lankan Muslims will extend to electronic and online methods as well.”

According to the Colombo based market research firm Survey Research Lanka’s fact-file data, the top four TV channels for Tamil speaking population in Sri Lanka in 2013 were Vasantham TV, Shakthi TV, Varnam TV and Sun TV. Huge majority of the 1.9 Million Muslim audience in Sri Lanka too watch these channels. The majority of Muslims in Sri Lanka do not fail to listen to Islamic prayers aired on island-wide SLBC Tamil transmission during the annual Ramazan period.

“The Muslim community has been living peacefully with other communities of Sri Lanka for more than thousand years” said NM Ameen (President-Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum) addressing the event, and added: “There is always a connection between the role of media and post modernity. Presence of powerful media is beneficial for any community contributing to the public opining. But it has been a setback for the Muslim community that it could not have a media voice of its own for it for many decades until 1997 when ‘Nawamani’ newspaper was born, which recognised the pulse of the community. Still there has been a long felt need for more print and electronic media-this has become more evident in the recent hatred campaign against the Muslim community. Therefore today’s event will be a historic event.”

National News Agency’s reps said the TV channel would at first, be shown through satellite TV operators before commencing free-to-air transmissions. The daily Tamil language newspaper Serendib meanwhile has commenced its publication on 16 December itself.

- Asian Tribune -

From Right: M Imtiaz (Chairman, National News Agency Ltd, operating firm of Serendib TV), Karu Jayasuriya (Member of Parliament), Bin Saleh Al Dawood (Representative of World Muslim League), A. J. M. Muzammil (Mayor of Colombo), Faiz Mustafa (Senior President's Counsel), Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce), and Basil Rajapaksa (Economic Development Minister) at the launch of Serendib TV, newspaper and Radio Channel at Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo on 16 December.
Members of the diplomatic community at the launch of Serendib TV, newspaper and Radio Channel at Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo on 16 December.
Seated from right: M Imtiaz (Chairman, National News Agency Ltd, operating firm of Serendib TV), Basil Rajapaksa (Economic Development Minister), Karu Jayasuriya (Member of Parliament), A. J. M. Muzammil (Mayor of Colombo), Bin Saleh Al Dawood (Representative of World Muslim League), Faiz Mustafa (Senior President's Counsel) at the launch of Serendib TV, newspaper and Radio Channel at Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo on 16 December.
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