- SLRC is incurring a monthly loss of over Rs.50 million
- SLRC was never taken under the Defence Ministry even during the war
- President never intervened in the affairs of SLRC for the last four years
Non-Cabinet Minister Ruwan Wijewardene yesterday wrote to President Maithripala Sirisena and said the latter’s decision to take over the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) under his purview cannot be prevented from being interpreted as a threat to media freedom.
In a letter to the President, the minister said his many attempts to appoint an eligible and an efficient chairperson to the SLRC to replace the incumbent inefficient demonstration were obstructed by President Sirisena.
“According to audit reports, the SLRC is incurring a monthly loss of over Rs.50 million. The rank of the SLRC has also gone down to the 6th place among TV channels according to media surveys. This clearly shows the current chairwoman had failed in promoting the SLRC. A majority of SLRC employees will also confirm this,” he stated in the letter.
“When the situation is as such, the decision to take the SLRC under the Ministry of Defence’s purview by an extraordinary gazette dated September 9,2019 seems to have created a troublesome situation. The SLRC was never taken under the Defence Ministry even during the time of the war. Therefore, the decision cannot be prevented from being interpreted as a threat to media freedom in Sri Lanka,” he stated .
Though the gazette notification said the SLRC was taken over to implement programmes for the promotion of peace, harmony and reconciliation among people whilst ensuring national security through the use of audio visual media, enhancement of the entertainment quality of the people and creation of a higher media culture using state-of-the-art technology, Minister Wijewardene said the President never intervened in the affairs of SLRC for the last four years.
“It is also regrettable to note that you, who expect to create a media culture of higher standard, has failed to inform me, the subject minister, before issuing the gazette notification,” he stated .