The broadcasting license of the Carlton Sports network (CSN), had already been cancelled, since the channel failed to adhere to transmission regulations, said Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunatilake.
He made this observation responding to a question raised by UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena under Standing Order 23(2).
He said it was a decision related only to the administration of television network and not related to any issue concerning journalists who were attached to it.
The minister said CSN had violated broadcasting regulations by changing its official address without prior notice to the Secretary of the Mass Media Ministry. They have also failed to submit their audited annual accounts to the Secretary.
Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that the CSN had failed to pay Rs. 1,000 million rupees that was imposed on it though we sent them many reminders to pay up the due amount. That was the most important and valid reason for the cancellation of their broadcasting license.
Raising the question under Standing Order 23(2), MP Dinesh Gunawardena urged the government to reverse the decision of cancelling the broadcasting license of Carlton Sports Network (CSN) charging that it was an illegal decision taken by the government.
According to reasons provided by the Mass Media Ministry Secretary, the address of the CSN had been changed without prior approval of the Secretary, while the reason he has given under Item 11 on the license. The license had not become affiliated to a registered political party in the event of the licensee selecting to surrender the license.
The third reason given by the Secretary was that the license should submit audited annual accounts to the secretary within the first three months of the following financial year.
Based on these three reasons, the government had taken measures to cancel the license of this popular TV network. He queried as to whether the government would take measures to reverse its illegal decision enabling to continue with the transmission of the TV channel or whether the government would accept that they have breached the constitutional and legal rights of the channel.
He further said CSN did not have any affiliation to any political party by adding that a business belonging to a family member of a politician could not be labeled as a business of a political party which he represents. “In other countries, even Presidential candidates have declared some television channels. We do not expect to do the same here,” he added. Changing the address could not be accepted as a reasonable fact to cancel the license of this channel. He also stressed the necessity of conducting a proper investigation before taking such a decision.