P’ment heats up over alleged move to cancel licence of private TV channel

Thursday, 8 July 2021 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Sajith alleges Govt. planning to cancel licence
  • Opp. and Govt. MPs walk to Well of House, exchange heated words
  • Govt. says no such moves, accuses Opp. of forgetting the past

 By Chandani Kirinde

There was an uproar in Parliament yesterday after Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa alleged that the Government was planning to suspend the operations of a private television channel by cancelling its licence.

“We have reliable information that the Government has already embarked on cancelling the licence. We want someone responsible to make a statement on it,” Premadasa said.

The uproar began after Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena decided to go ahead with the business of the House but several SJB MPs rose to their feet calling for a Point of Order, which in turn led to the SJB MPs walking to the Well of the House in protest. Several Government MPs too walked to the Well of the House, leading to heated scenes.

Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena stated his belief that the present Government would not suppress the media at any time.

“Those who shout today are the ones who killed journalist Richard de Soysa. The member of Dehiwala/Mount Lavinia who commented on a poster titled, ‘Who is he, what is he doing,’ disappeared and hasn’t been heard of till today. These Opposition MPs always come out with false allegations and disrupt the House. It is the ‘Yahapalana’ Government which suppressed the media most,” Minister Gunawardena said.

Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena also accused the Opposition of fabricating stories to disrupt democratic institutions instead of tendering an apology for their past wrongdoings. 

“There is a way to raise questions. An MP has to submit a written request prior to raising a question. Disrupting Parliament is also a serious crime. We oppose this move by the Opposition,” Gunawardena said.

MPs Gajendra Kumar Ponnambalam and Anura Kumara Dissanayake also shared their opposition to the alleged move. The JVP Leader also spoke against the arrest of JVP activists Samantha Vidayaratne and Namal Karunaratne.