World press leaders debate how to join the Internet revolution

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

EDINBURGH, May 29, 2006 (AFP) – Global press chiefs gathered in the Scottish capital Edinburgh to thrash out how best to wrestle with the rise of the Internet, stay on top of technology, and beat countless bloggers and citizen journalists to the story. The three-day International Press Institute (IPI) World Congress opened Sunday with fervent debate on the long-term challenges and opportunities posed by the advent of the age of new media.

From instant news on the Internet to average folk catching extraordinary events on their mobile phones, the threats — and opportunities — for traditional newspapers are increasing.

Krishna Bharat, a principal scientist for Internet search engine giant Google, warned editors that the web was going to reshape their industry.

“With each previous new technology, the face of journalism changed and we reinvented ourselves, but the heart of journalism — the editorial process, editorial objectivity and values — did not change,” Bharat said.

“Our industry’s methods of information collection and dissemination will change but not core editorial practices.”

He told editors: “Rather than ask, ‘How is the Internet going to affect my current operation?’, it is smarter and more useful to ask: ‘What benefits ca