CONTROVERSY WITH REGARD TO THE STATE MEDIA AND THE APPOINTMENT OF A COMPETENT AUTHORITY

14th January 2010, Colombo,
Sri Lanka
: It is now abundantly clear that a situation has
arisen in which the State-controlled media is acting with complete
disregard for the principles of balance and impartiality inherent to any
notion of responsible and professional journalism (which apply with
even greater force in the case of media institutions that are
publicly-owned and tax-payer funded), and in a manner that violates the
guidelines issued by the Elections Commissioner under the power vested
in him by Article 104B (5) (a) of the Constitution. In terms of Article
104B (5) (b), therefore, the Chairmen, specifically of the Sri Lanka
Rupavahini Corporation and the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, are
in breach of a legal duty imposed by the Constitution itself.

In this context, CMEV was pleased to learn that the Elections
Commissioner had first identified, then appointed, Mr. Jayampathy
Hettiarachchi (formerly of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service) as the
Competent Authority in terms of Article 104B (5) (c) of the Constitution
and the Competent Authority (Powers and Functions) Act No. 3 of 2002.
CMEV also noted that certain political programmes had in fact been
suspended due to their violation of the Elections Commissioner’s
guidelines.

However, it has been reported that at a meeting on Tuesday, 12th
January, with representatives of political parties, candidates and
monitors (including representatives of CMEV), the Elections Commissioner
had expressed his consternation, among other things, at the lack of
co-operation extended by the relevant State media institutions to the
Competent Authority, and went so far to suggest that he was considering
withdrawing the appointment of Mr. Jayampathy Hettiarachchi as the
Competent Authority.

Read the rest of this entry »

CONTROVERSY WITH REGARD TO THE STATE MEDIA AND THE APPOINTMENT OF A COMPETENT AUTHORITY

Centre for Policy Alternatives

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) was formed in 1996 in the firm belief that there is an urgent need to strengthen institution- and capacity-building for good governance and conflict transformation in Sri Lanka and that non-partisan civil society groups have an important and constructive contribution to make to this process. Focusing primarily on issues of governance and conflict resolution, CPA is committed to programmes of research and advocacy through which public policy is critiqued, alternatives identified and disseminated.