CSN challenges revocation of broadcasting license

Wednesday, 2 November 2016 00:44 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By S. S. Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday issued notices to Mass Media Ministry Secretary, Minister Gayantha Karunatillake, Telecommunications Regulatory Commission and its Director General pursuant to a Writ petition filed by Carlton Sports Network (Private) Limited challenging the impugned decision to revoke its Television Broadcasting License”.

The Bench comprising Justices Vijith Malalgoda and S. Thurairajah issued an order to maintain the status quo as of yesterday, in respect of its licenses for four frequencies allocated by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC).

President’s Counsel Sanjeeva Jayawardane making his submission on behalf of CSN said that the revocation of the broadcasting license of CSN was akin to gagging the media.

Jayawardane alleged that before the revocation there was no notice to show cause, no allegation, no inquiry or hearing and no charge sheet. The cancellation was in bad faith with an intention to deceive, he said.

CSN cited Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Minister Secretary Nimal Bopage, Minister Gayantha Karunatillake, TRC and its Director General Sunil S. Sirisena as Respondents.

Sanjeeva Jayawardane PC with Kaushalya Molligoda, Lakmini Warusevitane and Charitha Rupasinghe instructed by Nisanka Wijesinghe appeared for CSN.

CSN says it is engaged in operating a terrestrial television network and the production of television content for broadcast.  It claims it has not violated any of the terms and conditions contained in its license. It maintains the purported revocation has been resorted to, as a pre-emptive strike, without even affording it the basic right and concomitant safeguard of being issued some form of show cause or intimation of the allegatios against it.

It contends that the right to be heard is an indispensable, inalienable and indivisible right to safeguard.

It alleges the purported revocation by the Media Ministry Secretary is beyond his legal power and is therefore illegal and in violation of the basic principles of natural justice. 

It is seeking the Court to quash the purported decision by the Ministry Secretary and restrain the Secretary from interfering with the operation of its television channel.