Speaker summons Media Secretary, SLBC Chairman

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya summoned Mass Media Ministry Secretary Sunil Hettiarachchi and Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) Chairman Dr Somaratne Dissanayake to Parliament yesterday.

The Speaker summoned them due to concerns raised in Parliament on the State media behaviour and particularly the sudden stoppage of live broadcast of Parliament proceedings by the SLBC.

During the meeting, the SLBC Chairman had made an apology and promised to resume live broadcasting of Parliament.

The Mass Media Ministry Secretary too has undertaken to give necessary instructions to the SLBC, SLRC, ITN and ANCL (Lake House) to be responsible and independent when reporting. UNP MP Dr Harsha de Silva drew to the Speaker’s attention that Parliament website still refers to MP Mahinda Rajapaksa as the PM, adding that this was a violation of the Court order. The Speaker replied that he has already instructed to correct it.

UNP MP Ajith P Perera raised a privilege matter in that regard at the commencement of the sittings.

MP Perera pointed out that the SLBC has violated the agreement that it had signed with Parliament and said this was unfair as Parliament had paid money to the SLBC for live broadcast of sittings.

The Speaker, agreeing with the MP, said the SLBC Chairman has acted in an arbitrary manner and three reminders were sent to him by the Parliament Secretary General. He added that action would be taken against the behaviour of the SLBC Chairman.

The MP further requested the Speaker’s attention to the behaviour of all state media after October 26, adding that some of them ignored the rulings of Parliament and carried defamatory stories.

UNP MP S M Marikkar pointed out that the ITN allocated half an hour from its prime time on Tuesday to provide live coverage to an ‘adhistana pooja’ near Independence Square, adding that this was a misuse of public property.

UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that a motion with regard to state media behaviour has been submitted to the Speaker and requested it be taken up in the House as early as possible.

UNP MP Kavinda Jayewardena pointed out that SLRC Chairman Sarath Kongahage is also an advisor to the President and therefore his appointment is questionable.



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