For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been challenged to dispel the widely held perception that his government is complicit in a cover up of Lasantha Wickrematunge’s assassins.
In a letter dated January 4, 2010, Sonali Samarasinghe Wickrematunge highlighted the various steps taken by the state to stonewall an investigation into her husband’s murder and called for an “impartial, transparent and professional inquiry” into the killing.
Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe has been barred from conducting programmes after he obstructed the work of the competent authority appointed by the Commissioner of Elections to monitor the state media.
Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake has told Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya that he will not be sending any further communications asking him to ensure that the country’s election laws are upheld because of the continuing failure on the part of the police to do so.
As Sri Lanka’s media comes under increasing partisan pressure, the Committee to Protect Journalists calls on all sides contesting the January 26 general elections to respect the role of journalists in covering the campaign and voting process. CPJ notes with concern today’s assault on the BBC’s Sinhala service reporter who, according to Sri Lankan media reports, was hospitalized after a political mob, apparently linked to supporters of an agriculture minister, attacked her as she was covering the event.
The Court of Appeal yesterday (15) permitted MTV Channel (Pvt) Ltd to file an amended petition on the impugned order to shut down the transmission station of Shakthi TV in the Jaffna peninsula. The Bench comprising Justices Sathya Hettige and Anil Gooneratne, having permitted the filing of the amended petition subject to objection and counter objections, listed the matter to be taken up on February 17.
The Police Elections Desk has so far received 572 complaints related to election violence, head of the Police Elections Chief Gamini Navaratne said. In most of the incidents reported supporters of major political parties were engaged in removing or tearing down cut-outs, banners and other election propaganda material, DIG Navaratne said.
he Divisional Bench of five judges of the Supreme Court yesterday directed all media institutions to follow the guidelines issued by the Commissioner of Elections in respect of the forthcoming Presidential Election. The Bench comprised Chief Justice Asoka de Silva, Justices Shirani Tilakawardane, N.G.Amaratunga, Saleem Marsoof and K.Sripavan.
Without making any accusation and without accepting any truth of allegations against any broadcasting or telecasting institution, they directed all media in the interest of justice to follow the guidelines issued by the Commissioner of Elections.