SL paramilitary in Jaffna monopolises cable TV market at gunpoint

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 10 January 2012, 06:10 GMT]
Hundreds of private cable operators, who have been supplying cable Television covering the villages of Jaffna for years have been harassed and coerced into working under a paramilitary operated cable operator, MBL Cable Network, in Jaffna. Independent operators who were operating their own dishes and distributing television channels to private consumers were told that their business was illegal and they have to buy the channels and lease the network being established by the paramilitary company that had exclusive ‘government permission’. However, those who were in the competing business and argued that there was no such ‘exclusive permission’ obtained by the MBL continued to operate on their own. But, now they are being threatened. Alexkumar Balasundaram, a cable provider who operates from Kokkuvil with 10-year-experience, says he was threatened Saturday at gunpoint.

The paramilitary backed cable company, which is being promoted in a mafia fashion by the Sri Lankan establishment through the forces aligned with Douglas Devananda and Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias KP, seeks to promote Dan TV, an unpopular EPDP-operated television by gaining monopoly of the cable market.

Hundreds of small independent cable providers who were relaying TV channels from Tamil Nadu were forced to lease the network through the corporate paramilitary of the SL State.

The Sri Lankan police, under the instruction from its hierarchy in Colombo, is curbing the investigations with the complaints being made by independent operators like Mr. Balasundaram, whose case is put on hold by the SL court.

Despite the inaction, Balasundaram says he would fight for the right to operate his business independently.

Media circles in Jaffna say that the Sri Lankan military-led administration, which blocks independent journalists in covering certain events, treat the Dan TV ‘journalists’ as media workers of the State, giving full access to them.

Dan TV, carrying anti-diaspora and anti-TNA campaign gives prominence to SL state propaganda.

The paramilitary also engaged in image manipulations misusing the logo of a popular TV in Tamil Nadu, broadcasting anti-TNA views, during the elections.

Mr. Balasundaram has also complained at the SL Police that his cable connections are being destroyed by certain elements.

But, the SL police in Jaffna said that they have registered complaints that Balasundaram was disrupting the distribution of Dan TV.


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