Last night the Chief Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya sent a letter to Hiru TV asking them to explain themselves over allegations that the Channel wilfully misinterpreted a speech by Senior Vice President of the Sri Lanka Freedom party A H M Fowzie as saying he wanted Gotabaya Rajapaksa assassinated.
Deshapriya told RepublicNext that the letter followed a complaint made by former Minister Fowzie to the National Elections Commission regarding the matter.
The Elections Chief also said that Fowzie should take the matter to court. “He should file action, that is his job,” he added.
Fowzie has threatened legal action and today told RepublicNext that he is in “consultations with my lawyers.”
The National Elections Commission has no legal power to take direct action against private Media organisations, Deshapriya says.
The news item which was the lead story on the 6:55 PM Hiru News Bulletin on Thursday was repeated in a corrected form on the 10:00 PM newscast with the Sinhala word for assassinate edited out and the word “controversial” inserted instead.
On-line the 6:55 newscast is available with the offending studio introduction that reported that Fowzie wants Gotabaya killed edited out. Other online clips were also removed last night.
The clip was available until this morning on a number of websites supporting Gotabaya’s candidacy.
The same speech was telecast on Rupavahini and other channels and in it Fowzie says that after Mahinda Rajapaksa formed the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna many SLFPers have joined him. He follows that with the remark that to save the SLFP Gotabaya should be defeated.