Tele Cash

November 27, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has raised about 40 million rupees from June-Sept by taxing foreign movies, dramas and sitcoms aired on local television stations, the finance ministry said. Introduced in June, the ministry said the levy on telecasts of foreign films, teledramas and commercials are aimed at safeguarding the local film industry and protecting Sri Lankan values.

The funds are now being channeled to lift the ailing teledrama and film industry, the ministry said.

The government said earlier that they plan to use some of the funds to build a modern cinema village in the southern town of Tissamaharama.

The tax does not cover programmes with Tamil language content, documentaries, educational dramas, movies screened in theatres and children’s entertainment.

However, local broadcasters have cut down on their regular line up as they are unable to absorb the additional taxes.

A 30 minute Hollywood serial is taxed 10,000 rupees while a movie carries a levy of 25,000 rupees.

Programmes dubbed in native Sinhala and Tamil languages are charged 90,000 rupees for each 30-minute segment.

Industry watchers say local television stations air more than