Clarifying matters on the proposed Broadcasting Authority Bill, State Minister of Media Shantha Bandara told Parliament that only a concept paper has been brought out under which the power vested with the Minister in charge of media to cancel the license issued to media institutions at any given time will be abolished.
“The Media Minister has the power to cancel the licenses issued to media institutions at any time under the existing law. However, the proposed law will take away this power. A proper procedure with regard to cancellation of licenses will be introduced under this law. Therefore, the subject minister will no longer have the right to cancel licenses under the new legislation,” the State Minister said.
“Also, the legislation will not be used to tame the media as being alleged by the opposition,” he added responding to Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa who said the President and the government are aiming to tame the media through the proposed legislation.
The allegation by MP Dullas Alahapperuma that the President is out to seek revenge from a certain TV channel through the new legislation was also denied by the State Minister.
“We are willing to be flexible and invite all MPs, media associations and media institutions to propose fruitful amendments,” he added.
“The concept paper with regard to setting up of a Broadcasting Authority has already been amended,” he also said. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwrdana)