For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Tuesday, 12 January 2010 12:56
Rupavahini ignored strict guidelines issued by the Elections Commissioner and went ahead with the live telecasting of the President’s election manifesto launch. Under instructions from President’s powerful brother Basil Rajapakse and Dulles Alahapperuma, the state channel has telecast the event from 10.25 to 11.40 last morning (11th). Rupavahini sources confirm that Rs 300,000 has been spent on producing the programme and Rs 500,000 on the telecast.
The event itself had been held on a confusing note with the President arriving late and expressing his displeasure with the music organised. The organizers and the musicians had been in line for a sound telling off by the President. The President had also expressed his displeasure with the speech made by Minister Maithripala Sirisena – the Minister had ended his speech with a verse from the Hansa Sandeshaya (Swan Message) much to the anger of the President. The swan is the symbol under which General Sarath Fonseka is contesting the election.