Home / Front Page/ SLRC takeover bad for democracy and media freedom: Wijewardene

SLRC takeover bad for democracy and media freedom: Wijewardene


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 12 September 2019 01:19


  • Says President rejected four names proposed to SLRC Chairman’s post since March
  • Subject Minister kept in dark about takeover
  • Says move raises questions due to upcoming polls
  • Hopes President will rethink move

President Maithripala Sirisena had rejected four names that were proposed for the Chairman’s post of Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) before his sudden decision to place the State-owned television station under the Ministry of Defence, Mass Media Non-Cabinet Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said yesterday.

“From March up to this month, I have repeatedly tried to appoint a new Chairman to SLRC, but the President rejected all the names I put forward. Then he abruptly took over SLRC with no consultation with the Subject Minister,” Wijewardene told reporters at a press briefing. 

The President brought SLRC under the Defence Ministry by an Extraordinary Gazette notification on Monday night but has not given a reason for the decision.

Wijewardene said that the President’s action is against democratic institutions in the country as well as the freedom of the media.

“I strongly condemn this action and, as a matter of principle, against a media institution being placed under the Defence Ministry,” Wijewardena who is also the State Minister for Defence said.

He said that the move, coming close to an election, raises the question if it has been done to influence the polls or is a precursor to another coup like the one in October.

“While the President has the powers to take over SLRC or any other institution, this is bad for democracy and it is against media freedom,” he said.

The Minister said that since he took over the Mass Media Ministry in February, he has held several rounds so talks with the President and apprised him of the need to change the management at SLRC.

“SLRC is facing imminent collapse. It is corrupt and mismanaged. The workers and trade union members have told me the Chairperson and her team must be removed so SLRC can turnaround financially, but I have been obstructed from doing so,” he said.

Wijewardene said that the SLRC has fallen to sixth in ranking among TV stations in the country and the Treasury has to give money to pay salaries of staff. “We had to ask for Rs. 450 million to pay salaries. This is a burden on the public of this country. The Finance Minister has said the Treasury can’t keep giving millions all the time unless there is a turnaround at the Corporation,” he added.

 Wijewardene added that he hopes the President will think of the seriousness of this move and take corrective action.


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

The Monetary Board should weed out dishonest officers to save its reputation

Monday, 17 February 2020

Asani: Since the loss calculations are defective and auditors have not been fully conversant with the Monetary Board’s role in EPF, shouldn’t we dismiss all the reports, Grandpa? Sarath Mahatthaya: It’s not like that. Though they’ve been weak


COVID-19 – The dark side of global supply chains

Monday, 17 February 2020

The coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, outbreak in China has slowly but steadily rattled the global economy, disrupting virtually every major industry, from food, fashion, pharmaceuticals, entertainment to automobiles and technology. The first casu


Covid-19 and its effect on the airline industry

Monday, 17 February 2020

The effects of the Coronavirus, now named Covid-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO), has already had a numbing effect on the airline industry. Sadly, it appears that the worst is yet to come. SARS in 2002 Readers who remember the Severe Acute


Coronavirus epidemic and China’s slowdown: Economic impact on Sri Lanka

Monday, 17 February 2020

On 28 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a global emergency. The new virus emerged in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province in China but has now spread to at least 27 other coun


Columnists More