Lace Curtain

July 22, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is to form a national media policy to regulate content aired on local television channels, President Mahinda Rajapakse said Saturday, during a meeting with heads of local broadcasting stations. Rajapakse said a consultative committee will also be formed on Monday to iron out procedures and regulations that will govern broadcasters following a controversial tax on television stations which came into effect on July 16.

Stakeholders, Rajapakse said, would include government officials, broadcasters, artists and advertising agencies.

The president also asked Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa — who denied any hand in imposing a tax on imported television content — to take the leadership and formulate a policy acceptable to all stakeholders.

Rajapakse, who is also the country’s finance minister, promised “substantial cuts” in taxes slapped on local television stations that air foreign movies, dramas, sitcoms and advertising materials.

Local broadcasters are expected to resume normal programmes on Sunday, following Rajapakse™s assurance to amend the draconian taxes.

A 30 minute Hollywood and Bollywood blockbuster and serials are expected to be taxed 10,000 rupees, do