For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
The Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) has urged the Media Ministry not to issue new licenses for radio or television stations.
TRC Director General Anusha Pelpita said that the TRC was now unable to provide new frequencies as all the frequencies were in use.
He said that at present there are 23 free-to-air television stations and 45 radio stations operating in the country.
Pelpita said that in his opinion there were too many television and radio stations for a population of just around 20 million.
He said that by next August or September the TRC will review existing radio frequencies and re-issue them in some cases.
Pelpita explained that a radio station with three or four frequencies meant for different parts of the country may be given a single frequency with islandwide coverage. Sri Lanka has around 4500 to 5000 broadcast and transmission towers and some of them have become an environmental and public concern. Pelpita said that some of these towers do not have lightning conductors and this has caused fear among residents living in close proximity to the tower.He also said that some telecommunication/broadcast towers are below standard and do not meet the specifications of the TRC. When The Sunday Leader contacted Media Ministry Secretary W. B. Ganegala, he said that the Ministry has already suspended issuing new licenses for radio and television stations since frequencies were now full. He said that some institutions which had obtained licenses had not commenced television or radio broadcasts. He said that if a license is resold by the institution which obtained it, then that license will be cancelled.
By Indika Sri Aravinda