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FMM Condemned Providing TV/Radio licenses to JVP

Free Media Movement (FMM) condemned a statement made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) on 10th February 2007. The full speech was telecast on state controlled Television station Rupavahini.

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Free Media Movement (FMM) condemned a statement made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) on 10th February 2007. The full speech was telecast on state controlled Television station Rupavahini.

The President states in this speech, that he provided TV and a Radio licenses to the JVP as a way of recognising the support they rendered to him in the presidential election campaign.

Full text of FMM’s press release follows:

14/02/2007

The Free Media Movement (FMM) registers its serious disquiet over aspects of the speech related to media, made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) on 10th February 2007. The full speech was telecast on state controlled Television station Rupavahini.

The President in his speech states that he provided TV and a Radio licenses to the JVP (People’s Liberation Front) as a way of recognising the support they rendered to him in the presidential election campaign.

We are disturbed to hear this. Regrettably, it is the practice of successive governments to show partisan favour in the provision of TV and radio liaisons to businessmen and political parties who supported them at elections, with scant regard for the ethics of such practices, or the serious implications on media regulations that are in place in part to ensure that such practices are kept at bay.

The question now arises as to how many other political parties are entitled to claim a TV and Radio liaison given their support to the incumbent President and his government.

We also note that although the government admits to the provision of TV and Radio liaisons based on political favouritism, they continue to refuse licenses to establish independent community radio stations.

Clearly, this nepotism and political favouritism is detrimental to the development of free media. The FMM has always maintained that the air-waves, as a public good, should be regulated accordingly in a transparent manner through a constitutionally established public service broadcasting authority.

We also wish to register our consternation over the President’s coments that criticised several Sinhala languane weekly newspapers for publishing articles that featured interviews with leaders of the LTTE, highlighted the humanitarian crisis in the North and East of Sri Lanka and exposed corruption.

The FMM believes that the role of professional, free media is one in which it acts as a watchdog of democracy. As noted in our statement on 9th February, throughout the past years we have consistently condemned the harassment of media persons and of media institutions and the undermining of the right to the freedom of expression of all citizens of this country.

We stand firmly in opposition to all measures that seek to deny or curtail media freedoms, and would like to remind the Government of its commitments under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, amongst other rights instruments which it has signed and ratified, to secure and strengthen the freedom of expression, the public’s right to know and media freedom in Sri Lanka.

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President orders investigations into Daham’s nightclub scandal

(NIDAHASA News) President Maithiripala Sirisena call for an investigation into the Colombo nightclub attack allegedly carried out by his own son.

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(NIDAHASA News) President Maithiripala Sirisena call for an investigation into the Colombo nightclub attack allegedly carried out by his own son.

A group allegedly led by Sirisena’s son Daham attacked Clique nightclub at Town Hall, Colombo last Friday (07), allegedly after they were denied entry to the nightclub around 2.00 am. A security guard was admitted to the Colombo National Hospital following the attack with head injuries.
However, speaking to Sri Lanka Mirror web site, police denied any connection of President’s son to the incident.
“He had arrived there around 7.00 pm, and it was a long time later that the clash took place,” Sri Lanka Mirror quoted the police.
In 2013, during the time his father was a minister, Daham Sirisena was accused of attacking a youth at Passikudah beach.

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Severe weather: over 200 families missing

(NIDAHASA News) Over 200 families missing after a massive landslide in Aranayaka, in Kegalla district.

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(NIDAHASA News) Over 200 families missing after a massive landslide in Aranayaka, in Kegalla district.

“16 bodies have already been recovered and about 180 people have been rescued,” said military spokesman Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera.

“The task is to figure out what happened to them,” the Red Cross said in a statement, noting that some people may have left after local officials warned earlier this week of possible landslides.

The Disaster Management Center (DMC) reported over 350,000 people were affected by floods and landslides caused by massive rains.

Meanwhile warning has been issued to several suburbs areas of capital Colombo due to the increasing water level or Kelani river. People living in Wellampitiya, Megoda Kolonnawa, Sedawatte, Kohilawatte and surrounding areas have been asked to move to a safe place.

The depression, named BOB 01 is currently moving towards South India; however rain will continue for several areas in Sri Lanka until the end of this week, weather specialists say.

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Sri Lanka's firebrand Buddhist monk arrested

(NIDAHASA News) Supporters of Galagodaatte Gnansara started a violent protest in front of Homagama court after magistrate ordered to remand infamous Buddhist monk till 09th February.

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(NIDAHASA News) Supporters of Galagodaatte Gnansara started a violent protest in front of Homagama court after magistrate ordered to remand infamous Buddhist monk till 09th February.

The General Secretary of extreme Buddhist movement Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) surrendered to the court this morning (26) after magistrate ordered police to arrest the for alleged contempt of court. He was accused of making an argument with the judge during the court hearing of disappeared journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda's habeas corpus.

Gnanasara has alleged that arresting the Army officers over Ekneligoda's disappearance was illegal and the prosecution should be arrested for “illegal arrests” of military officers. The counsel representing the missing journalist's family informed the court that the monk has also threatened the journalist's wife Sandhya.

Protesters, including a group of monks attempted to enter the court premises challenging the court's order to arrest their General Secretary and tried to block the prison vehicle. Police however managed to take Gnanasara to the remand prison with the support of extra police team.

Gnanasara and his BBS had been accused of inflaming religious tension between Majority Buddhists and Muslims. They were also accused of being a cat's paw of previous Rajapaksa regime. However BBS denied any secret relationship with Rajapaksa brothers.

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