For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has decided to allocate the frequencies allocated to the controversial Channel 9 network to Asia Broadcasting Company (ABC) without publicly auctioning the frequencies.
Although frequencies need to be allocated through a public auction in a transparent manner since they are considered public property according to the TRC Act, the Channel 9 frequencies have been assigned to ABC networks without following any legal procedures.
The TRC has also decided to re-assign the nine frequencies that were taken away from the ABC networks following the Ranminitenne incident.
TRC Director General Anusha Pelpita said that frequencies were not allocated to Channel 9 and that ABC has not been assigned frequencies.
However, he said that following a Media Ministry directive, two frequencies that were formerly with the Company have been released to it once again.
When asked if nine frequencies have been released to the Company, the director general said that only two frequencies were assigned.
However, sources from TRC said that ABC has been assigned eight radio frequencies and TV frequencies that were initially assigned to Channel 9.
Several attempts to get a comment on the matter from ABC Managing Director Raynor Silva failed.
Reliable sources from the TRC said that ABC is to commence a TV channel and has already made plans to recommence Sun FM and Shaa FM.
Former head of Max and Art TV has been appointed to head ABC’s TV channel that is to be launched shortly.
The ABC had 21 radio frequencies that were used by the Company’s five radio stations before the Ranminitenne incident and the TRC on the orders of the Media Ministry held back nine frequencies from the Company.
TRC sources said that although the Media Ministry initiated an investigation into the issue, it was stopped midway after Duminda Silva joined the government and the TRC was ordered to re-assign some radio frequencies to ABC