Launch of the Research Report “A Scientific investigation of Tobacco and Alcohol Portrayal in Sri Lankan Media and its Public Health Implications”



A research report on portrayal of tobacco and alcohol in media and its public health implications was launched by the Centre for Combatting Tobacco (CCT) in an advocacy event and a press briefing held on the 30th of March 2021 at the Cinnamon Grand hotel. The Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, Senior Professor Chandrika Wijeyaratna, was the Chief Guest of the Event. The event was graced by important stakeholders in tobacco control including the director Non-Communicable Diseases Programme of the ministry of Health, Dr. Vindya Kumarapeli and many other academics, entertainment industry personnel and journalists.

This research, supported by a joint project of the Institute of Policy Studies Sri Lanka and the KIVU International, was carried out by an independent research team with the technical guidance of CCT. This study included analysis of portrayal of alcohol and tobacco in traditional media channels, television and cinema, and also in new social media platforms, YouTube and Facebook.

Senior Professor Vajira Dissanayake, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, welcomed the participants to the event. The presentation of the exciting and interesting research findings to the august audience was preceded by two speeches introducing the background concepts. Dr. Manuja Perera, the Editor of the CCT spoke about the Tobacco and Alcohol industry in Sri Lanka and the promotional tactics used by them, following which Dr. Mahesh Rajasuriya, the director of CCT enlightened the gathering on the impact and effectiveness of those promotional tactics.

Representing the institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Ms. Dilani Hirimuthugodage did a presentation of a recent research by IPS on exposure to social media such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

The research report was then launched and the research team presented the findings. The Principal Investigator Dr. Lathika Athauda and her team comprising Dr. Bimba Chandrasekara, Dr. Roshan Jayawardane and Ms. MIP Kumari, described the methods and highlighted the main findings. The report launch was followed by the launch of a vibrant social media campaign advocating the public based on the study findings.

Following the report presentation, a question-and-answer session commenced giving the opportunity for the participants and the journalists to get a deeper insight into the study findings. Many important issues were discussed among the researchers and the participants during this session.

The Chief Guest, Senior Professor Chandrika Wijeyarathna and Dr. Vindya Kumarapeli Director NCD also addressed the gathering highlighting the importance of addressing the issues brought up by this research.

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