The usage of drones and its impact on privacy has been a much talked about topic in recent times. The issue was once again discussed after a drone flew over the burial site of slain editor of The Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunga when his body was being exhumed for fresh investigations on September 27.

Weekend Nation obtained views of several officials pertaining to this issue.

Following are excerpts:

Reporting in the public interest cannot be abused by the media – Dy. Min. Paranavithana
Addressing the matter concerning the use of drones, the Government observed that while the media was granted exemption in reporting in the name of public interest, such a licence should not be allowed to be abused.

A drone of hitherto unknown origin and ownership was used during the exhumation of Wickrematunga’s remains, the filming and photographing of which was closed to the media.

Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media, Karunaratne Paranavithana further added that they had started to create a discourse regarding media ethics and improving professionalism of the media.

He outlined that such was not a case with the Government imposing an ethical code on the media but rather an attempt to achieve a consensus with media stakeholders concerning the standards to be adhered to when reporting on matters such as crimes and conflicts. Paranavithana added that the ultimate goal was to make it legal.

“We are going to establish an independent media commission. Drone camera use raises issues of privacy and it cannot be arbitrarily used. The basic ethical aspects involve making a request from a subject, prior to taking a photograph of the subject,” he opined.