Numerous complaints were received from our viewers on Saturday evening, regarding disruptions of Sirasa TV, Shakthi TV and MTV Sports, which come under MTV Channel Private Limited, on PEO TV and Dialog TV.
The disruptions were experienced while preparations were underway for the political debate programme – Satana – at which Maithripala Sirisena was also a participant.
The service disruption came up at several media briefings held on Sunday.
Convenor of Free Media Movement, Sunil Jayasekara expressed the following views regarding the disruptions.
“A grave incident transpired yesterday. Either Sri Lanka Telecom which owns and operates the PEO TV service or Dialog Telecom which obtains services from Sri Lanka Telecom, which are both services paid for by the public, disrupted the transmission of private television channels and blocked them, depriving the people of their right to view their telecasts. A grave mistake has been committed. At a time when a presidential election has been announced, the candidates contesting in the election and the political parties involved in it, have been deprived the right of communicating their views to the people through the free media. The accusation has been levelled at either Sri Lanka Telecom, which provides the PEO TV service, or Dialog telecom, which obtains that service and sells it to the people.
Journalists raised questions regarding the service disruption at a media briefing convened by the SLFP on Sunday.
The following were questions that arose regarding this grave issue.
Q – “Were plans made to block the transmission of a programme which featured Maithripala Sirisena and opposition politicians?”
Min. Mahindananda Aluthgamage: ”We did not do anything of the sort. It was shown this morning as well”
Q – “Are you saying, No?”
Answer – “I do not know. I do not know about it”
Q – “So you did not watch it?”
A – “We were engaged in bigger operations last night than watching the media. That is why I am speaking with full confidence. I watched it this morning, since I was unable to watch it last night.”