Sri Lanka knocks ABC's radio services off the air

[TamilNet, Friday, 26 October 2007, 06:31 GMT]
One of the main sources of breaking news in Sri Lanka, five FM Radio services, operated by Asian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), has been silenced by Government of Sri Lanka in the early hours of Friday, following the controversy over a news report that alleged five civilians were gunned down near Wirawila airbase, on Wednesday, in the Southern Province Hambantota district, the electorate of the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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.

Last year, during the Maavilaa'ru offensive, the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who invited the top leadership of the ABC Management, passed a warning to the network and asked to censor details from the Tigers and not give equal coverage to LTTE statements with the the statements issued by the military officials of the Government in ABC's broadcasts.

A few days later in August 2006, Nadarajah Kuruparan, the news manager of Sooriyan FM, was abducted. He was released after 24 hours.

Former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, in an alleged move to ‘punish’ the ABC for not favouring her alliance during the 2001 elections (and which was won by the opposition UNP), cancelled ABC's TV license soon after she seized key ministries from the UNP government in November 2003. Kumaratunga’s confidant, Laxshman Kadirgamar, who was sworn in as Minister for Information and Daily Communication, hours before she dissolved the Sri Lankan parliament on 7 February 2004, cancelled the ABC's TV licence issued in 1995.


Chronology:


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20.09.04   Popular radio network says plot to jam news
29.03.04   Grenade attack on media CEO's residence
16.02.04   Kadirgamar cancels private media group's TV license

 

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