Women journalists’ network urges SLRC to revoke ban on TV presenter

Women journalists’ network urges SLRC to revoke ban on TV presenter

The South Asian Women in Media- Sri Lanka (SAWM- SL) has urged the State-run television network, Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), to immediately revoke its decision to ban Parami Nileptha Ranasinghe, a senior program presenter from entering the SLRC premises and from hosting television programs.

On March 6, Ranasinghe received telephone calls from two producers associated with her regular program ‘Rividina Arunella’ informing her that the SLRC authorities have, with immediate effect, banned her from entering the SLRC precincts and have removed her from regular programs, as well as those scheduled for the festive season.

She was also told that the decision had been conveyed to the SLRC management by the
Presidential Secretariat due to a March 5 post on her Facebook wall, which was critical of the incumbent administration.

“I was informed that I have been removed from hosting any programs on behalf of SLRC with immediate effect and this includes programs scheduled for the April Sinhala-Hindu New Year season,” Ranasinghe told SAWM-SL. The senior presenter counts over 15 years of uninterrupted freelancing with the SLRC.

Deeming Ranasinghe’s removal a politically motivated decision and a serious infringement of the popular host’s fundamental freedoms, SAMW-SL demands the SLRC respects the journalist’s constitutionally guaranteed right to free expression and reminds the SLRC that while no institution can tamper with the rights of a citizen, it should also bear in mind that the SLRC is the national television station, an institution maintained with public funds.

SAWM-SL reiterates that using a social media post to deny her regular work as a freelancer is a denial of her right to work. It is an act of shameless political interference, discriminatory and a violation of the presenter’s right to free expression.

Furthermore, SAWM-SL also highlights the need to address the underlying cause for such arbitrary decision-making.

“Public-funded institutions have become tools in the hands of various governments serving political purposes without acting in the public interest. The practice of politicization of public
institutions and using State media as propaganda machines need to end at least now and these institutions need to be converted into public service broadcasters, serving the public, not politicians,” said Hana Ibrahim and Dilrukshi Handunnetti, co-conveners of the women journalists’ network. (Colombo Gazette)

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