Empty Space

July 16, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka™s private television stations said Sunday that they will be forced to stop broadcasting Hollywood blockbusters and serials following a controversial film tax that kicked in today. “Regrettably we will be forced to restrict our programmes and suspend popular dramas from tomorrow (Monday) if we don’t get a favourable reply,” Lakshaman Bandaranayake, of ETV said during an hour long news conference aired live over four channels.

Effective July 16, all imports of Bollywood and Hollywood television content are taxed 750 dollars for every 30 minutes of airtime.

Foreign content dubbed in native Sinhala and Tamil languages are taxed 900 dollars for each 30 minute segment.

Foreign advertisements shown on local television station are taxed a million rupees or 10,000 dollars each year.

The funds, the government says, will be used to develop the local film industry.

Treasury secretary P B Jayasundara said the tax is not a revenue generation method, but the broadcasting industry say it pushes television stations to bankruptcy, with hundreds of jobs at stake.

“The levy will make us financially unviable, its an ill advised decision, an attempt to strangle the media of