For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
A number of issues have cropped up in regard to the Carlton sports private TV channel. Will the Govt. give another sports TV channel too the same support and encouragement it is extending to Carlton sports ? Is there any truth in the allegation that this TV channel was launched by the Rajapakse regime in the name of the fiancée of President’s son Yoshitha Rajapakse? These questions and many others were raised at a media discussion today.
This Carlton sports private TV channel is operating from the premises of State ITN channel . The ITN has provided all the facilities including technology , equipments and land for this Carlton TV channel.
The chief of this private channel is Ms. Hasara Abeynaike and the chief Executive is Nishantha Ranatunge. The Govt. has given State sports telecasting rights to the Carlton channel in violation of the laws. This Co. has been given permission to function getting access to the ITN tower .
This Company’s Headquarters is located in a Colombo building belonging to the Presidential secretariat maintained by the Secretariat expenditure accounts. An individual who is a supplier to the Navy had spent Rs. 35 million and arranged this office .
All the necessary technological equipments for the telecasting of sports events live had been supplied by the President’s media unit. Nilantha Abeywardena an Engineer at the Telecom receiving a salary from this Institution is working full time at the Carlton private TV sports channel.
The Govt . has indirectly given the telecasting rights of the tournaments of the SL cricket team to this private TV channel.
In the circumstances , a pertinent question that is raised is ,the ownership of this company belongs to whom ? It is most intriguing why the Govt. has singled out this Company and lavished all its attention on it , by providing maximum benefits , facilities and privileges.? Why did the Presidential secretariat give its premises to this Co. to have its headquarters there. It is the bounden duty of the media and information Minister to reveal full details about this riddle to the people as this country is not the dowry property of any member of the Rajapakse regime to play ducks and drakes with.
UNP M.P. and a former Minister of information and media, Mangala Samaraweera exposed these stinking details of the Govt. ‘s alleged underhand deals at a media briefing today (20).