Media Muzzle

Oct 28, 2008 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan government plans to restrict television broadcast content through new regulations introduced to regulate private television stations for the first time, media and information minister Anura Yapa said. The new rules, which came into effect on October 10, have been drawn up under the powers granted to the media ministry, he told our sister news website Vimasuma.com

Under the new rules, temporary television broadcast licenses can be converted to permanent ones but with conditions attached.

These conditions include a ban on broadcasts that endanger national security or the local culture.

They also ban political parties from getting TV broadcast license or selling licenses, Yapa said.

The government has the power to investigate any violations of the conditions and either suspend or cancel broadcast licenses of private TV channels, he said.

The new rules come at a time when the government has been criticised by Western governments and media rights watchdogs for trying to intimidate or muzzle the independent media.

Several journalists critical of the government have been assaulted or threatened with the perpetrators remaining unknown or the government not taking action against t