The prestigious Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) in Manila, in the Philippines has selected two internationally recognised media giants, D. Shelton A. Gunaratne, Professor Emeritus of the Minnesota University, Moorhead, USA and Wijeyananda Jayaweera, former Director of Communication and International Programme for Development of Communication (IPDC) at the UNESCO, Paris.
Awards for their contribution to media and mass communication in Asia will be presented at the 25th AMIC Annual International Conference on 27 September (2017), at Miriam College, Quezon City, Manila.
Shelton A. Gunaratne worked as a journalist for Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (ANCL-Lake House) after graduation and left Lake House after five years in pursuit of an academic career.
He has worked as a lecturer in mass communication in many countries including Malaysia, China and Australia.
He is recognised for his theoretical contributions in mass communication and for his path breaking book that seeks to de-Westernise communication theory, with Eastern philosophical thinking.
His book “The Dao of the Press: A Humanocentric Theory (Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2005) is considered the best contribution to such theories.
Wijeyananda Jayaweera was a broadcaster with the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) for over two decades. As an SLBC employee he was a very active trade unionist as the Vice President of the CMU.
He is recognised for his pioneering work in taking the radio to the people and turning broadcasting into a “two way” communication process.
The Mahaweli Broadcasting services was his approach in establishing a “community” radio in the country. This concept was introduced to the Rajarata Service of the SLBC during the 80s when Wijeyananda was heading the service.
In 1989 he had to leave not only the SLBC, but the country as well, when the JVP insurgency targeted everyone, who ignored their diktats.
Since leaving Sri Lanka, he first worked with the Dutch Radio as a Consultant and then joined the UNESCO, where he developed the concept of Community Radio.
He is instrumental in Nepal having its own Community Radio the Sagarmath and in many South East Asian countries.
Since retirement he is in Sri Lanka and his expertise was solicited by the Media Ministry in drafting the Right To Information (RTI) Act in which he played a very crucial role in developing the RTI Act that is now in force.
A website news report on the Conference said:
“Over 400 foreign and local communication scholars, educators, researchers, practitioners and students have registered for the conference. This is the first time the annual conference is being held in the Philippines since AMIC’s transfer from Singapore to the Philippines in 2015.
Themed “Rethinking Communication in a Resurgent Asia,” the conference includes sessions on Asian Communication Paradigms and Theories; Asian Philosophy, Religion, and Communication; Freedom of Expression in a Post-Truth Era; Communication and Culture; Communication Education and Training; Political Communication in Traditional and Online Platforms; Media and Information Literacy; and Children and Gender Issues in Communication.
“The theme forces us to question the seeming dominance of Western philosophies and paradigms in communication media in the Asia-Pacific. The event hopes to provide a platform for reasserting the pioneering contributions of Asians in communication as well as examine the impact of Asian philosophies and religions on communication paradigms, strategies, and practices, said Crispin C. Maslog, AMIC Board of Directors Chairperson.