Popular radio network says plot to jam news

[TamilNet, Monday, 20 September 2004, 05:57 GMT]
The management of Asian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the parent company of five popular radio stations in Sri Lanka Monday expressed concern over reports in local print and electronic media about an alleged request by the Ministry of Internal Security to jam news broadcasts on all the radio channels of the network. President Kumaratunga cancelled ABC's TV license soon after she seized key ministries from the United National Front government in November 2003. In August this year Sri Lanka army seized equipment ABC sent to Jaffna for upgrading its broadcast in the north.

ABC says that the government confiscated the equipment was illegal.

Sri Lankan government media reported that ABC was smuggling the broadcasting equipment secretly.

SLA and Police officials who seized the equipment at the Omanthai entry point say that ABC had not obtained permission from the Ministry of Defence to take the instruments to Jaffna.

ABC officials, however, dismiss this explanation on the ground that as a legal, licensed broadcasting network in Sri Lanka, the company has the right to take equipment to any part of the country without obtaining clearance from MoD. Unidentified persons lobbed a grenade at the residence of ABC's chief executive officer in Colombo during the elections. ABC officials say that the attack was part of plan to intimidate the popular radio network.

"ABC is prepared to take every necessary step to legally to make sure the public's right to information is met under the provisions of the constitution. Accordingly, people who are involved in the plot to jam news broadcasts of our five radio channels will be identified and prosecuted at an international level", ABC management said Monday.

The ABC operates Hiru, the popular Sinhala radio station and Sooriyan, the widely listened to Tamil FM radio station. It also operates Sha (Sinhala) and Sun, Gold (English) FM broadcasts.


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