The complaint filed by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu 6 months ago against the State Owned Independent Television Network (ITN) was taken up this afternoon in the Human Rights Commisson of Sri Lanka.
The CPA Executive Director Dr. Saravanamuttu as well as Rosmand Senaratne, Chairman of ITN were summoned and present before the Commission. After hearing lawyers’ initial submissions, the Human Rights Commission decided to refix the matter for a fuller inquiry at 10:30am on 24.04.2014.
Dr. Saravanamuttu has complained that there is an organized campaign by the Rajapaksa regime abusing ITN as a public corporation controlled by the government, to attack CPA and other civil service organisations because they are seen as unsupportive of the regime. A common method used is to falsely describe them as “LTTE supporters/activists” to damage their reputation. This he states, violates several fundamental rights.
The incident which caused the complaint was a news item carried on ITN news, claiming that CPA and Dr. Saravanamuttu organized a seminar in Ampara to further a “LTTE Terrorist Agenda”. In fact, neither CPA nor Dr. Saravanamuttu had anything to do with any seminar in Ampara. The allegation was made in the news item maliciously, purely to cause damage to CPA. A written complaint to the ITN Chairman was not even replied to. Thereafter a written complaint was made to the HRC by CPA and Dr. Saravanamuttu.
The complaint alleges infringement and imminent further infringement of fundamental rights by such vilification campaigns against CPA and other members of civil society critical of the government.
The complainants have requested for several reliefs through the complaint, several of which are meant not only to protect the complainants’ rights, but all other civil society actors/activists who should be free of such malicious abuse by state controlled media run on public funds.
The reliefs asked for are at the end of the complaint. To read the full complaint, click here