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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2523

SC charges ABC radio head with contempt

By Ruwan Weerakoon

Colombo, 02 November, (Asiantribune.com): Sri Lanka Supreme Court yesterday charged the Managing Director of the Asia Broadcasting Corporation (Pvt) Ltd., A. Samantha Reynor Silva for contempt of court for suppressing vital facts of the controversial news story to the court.

Mr. Silva, Managing Director and the head of the marketing of ABC Network Pvt Ltd was released on a cash bail of Rs. 250,000 to be paid forthwith and fixed the case for November 24 to decide on the contempt charged against him.

The court made this order when the petition filed by ABC (Pvt) Ltd against the withdrawal of its broadcasting license was taken up before the Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and Justice N. E. Dissanayake, today. While charging the Managing Director for contempt of Court, the court dismissed the application.

The company which runs five radio stations Sun FM, Gold Fm, Hiru FM, Shaa FM and Sooriyan FM had complained to court that its fundamental rights was violated when the Media Minister withdrew its licence over a newscast on September 24, while Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) withdrew the frequencies allocated to its radio channels. The Mass Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, TRC, its Director General Kanchana Ratwatte, IGP and Attorney General were cited among the respondents.

Objecting the application the counsel for respondents stated that the licence possessed by the ABC Network was invalid. It was stated that the broadcasting license had been issued to a person who was not existing and it had been issued even before the company was incorporated.

The counsel for the respondents objected the petition and stated that Reynor Silva in his affidavit on the alleged news report had misled the court by omitting certain facts.

According to the news item, LTTE had infiltrated to Ranminitenna in Tissamaharamaya on October 24 night and had massacred the villagers. In the affidavit the information on the massacre had been omitted.

The Deputy Solicitor General of the Attorney General's Department informed the court that the court could be listened to the original news item which was broadcast as a special news item on three times on the said date. The original news item was played in open court and at the end the Chief Justice questioned as to how the massacre of villagers was not in the affidavit filed along with the fundamental rights application.

The CJ Sarath N. Silva stated that the Managing Director of the company had misled the court with an affidavit filed under oath. He asked as to how he could report objectively while they mislead the most Superior Court in the country.

The CJ at this point charged the Managing Director for the allegedly committing contempt of court by misleading court.

Upholding the objections of the respondent parties, the court dismissed the case. The CJ stated that the company could apply for a fresh licence if necessary.

- Asian Tribune -

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