Obtain approval for use of drones: Media Ministry

2017-01-11 20:54:26

In the wake of the police apprehending a drone used by a TV station to cover clashes in Hambantota on Saturday (7), the Mass Media and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry today laid down guidelines and regulations on the use of drones for media purposes.

Accordingly, approval from the Director General of Civil Aviation, an approved person or approved organisation, has to be obtained for the use of pilot-less aircraft with a gross mass of between 1 kg and 25 kg.

While claiming that the regulations on the use of drones around airspace have been relaxed after the end of the war, the Mass Media Ministry says that it was aware of footage taken by drones, by citizens as well as tourists visiting Sri Lanka, widely available across social media as online video platforms. We recognise that many events today in their promotional material or live coverage feature the use of drones.

"We also note their use in health applications, precision agriculture practices (smart farming), the coverage of public rallies, the aftermath of natural disasters, around disaster risk reduction, sporting events and private functions like weddings and parties. Given the increasing availability of high-end consumer drones in Sri Lanka, the manufacture of sophisticated drones within the country and with their purchase price dropping sharply,”

The Media Ministry expects their use in commercial and recreational purposes, including in the field of journalism and the Media Ministry fully supports the use of drones by journalists and media personnel in pursuit of their professional news gathering operations and coverage of events, places and processes.

However, given a rapid increase in usage and the evolving nature of drone technology, the Ministry's primary responsibility is to ensure usage of drones for journalism is in compliance with existing rules and regulations, as well as conducted in a manner that is, above all else, safe, ethical and respects the privacy of citizens.

In this respect, media reports over recent months, from coverage around the exhumation of slain journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge's body in Colombo to the coverage of the unrest in Hambantota recently, have focused on the use of drones by media organizations and raised questions around regulations, ethics and professionalism. (Sandun A Jayasekera)

  Comments - 1

  • Mr. Perfect Thursday, 12 January 2017 15:01

    Use of Drones should be only with approval from ministry of defense. If not shoot them down. It's huge security risk not seen now by our authorities but will only debate when something happens as usual Sri Lankan way of doing things.

    Reply : 6       6

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