Former Minister and UPFA MP A H M Fowzie says he will take legal action against the Hiru Television network which erroneously reported him saying that to “protect the SLFP Gotabaya Rajapaksa should be killed.”
Addressing a press conference in Colombo this morning Oct 25, Fowzie said that what he said was to protect the SLFP Gotabaya Rajapaksa must be defeated.
The news item which was the lead story on the 6:55 PM Hiru News Bulletin was repeated in a corrected form on the 10:00 PM newscast.
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.
It is not known whether Hiru has apologized to Fowzie.
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 to save the SLFP Gotabaya should be defeated.
Chief Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya told RepublicNext that he has seen the video clip on Facebook. He said that he could speak to Facebook and have them “stop them sharing this video.” As Hiru is a privately owned Media organisation he has no powers to take action suo moto, he added.
He said as this was an item of fake news the Commission will discuss what action can be taken when a written complaint is received. He said the Commission is empowered to take legal action against State Media.
The item, however, clearly violates the Media Guidelines issued by the Commission to the Media during an election period.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has written to the Commission pointing out the reporting by Hiru.
“It is apparent that Hiru has created this partisan, false news with the intent of creating communal disharmony as well,” Samaraweera wrote.