Colombo, Nov 04 (BAN/ AD): On Sunday the Chairman of Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya has withdrawn plan to censor the state-owned, Independent Television Network (ITN). His decision has come amid severe criticism.
EC Chairman said “After considering many representations by several parties that my order was discriminatory, I revoke the (censorship) order issued on ITN.”
The Election Commission Chief had banned ITN from airing any live political programs after accusing the channel of harming the campaign of opposition candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. On Saturday he had issued order instructing ITN to clear the content of all political programs with the Elections Commission. The order was to come into effect from Sunday midnight.
The move was heavily criticized that the state TV is penalized while the private channels are the biggest culprits of airing biased contents in support of the opposition candidate.
People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said privately-owned TV stations were worse than ITN in violating campaign laws and in supporting one candidate over others.