Switching Channels

Sri Lankas independent election chief took over state-owned radio and television stations amid allegations that their programs were highly biased towards the presidents party.
Dissanayake said he appointed a “competent authority” to run stations until the conclusion of the election which begins with voting Friday and ends with the declaration of results a few days later. rn

rnIt is the first time since independence from Britain in 1948 that Sri Lankas state-controlled media has been brought under independent authority during an election. rn

rnPresident Chandrika Kumaratunga called elections four years ahead of schedule after a feud with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is elected separately and is from a rival party. rn

rnIndependent poll monitors as well as political parties had charged that the state Rupavahini (SLRC) television channel and the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) were being used as organs of the presidents Freedom Alliance. rn

rn”By virtue of powers vested in m