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Hiru TV denying show rehearsal defying govt COVID 19 guidelines

DID IT HAPPEN? Hiru TV denies that it had a rehearsal involving 120 staff and artistes at its studio complex at Thalawathugoda last night

ECONOMYNEXT – Hiru TV is denying that it brought more than a hundred staff and artistes to record its Sinhala Avurudu Special show to its studios at Thalawathugoda on Tuesday in defiance of government guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID 19.

Social Media was set alight last night by stories of how around 120 people had been bussed in to the studio complex to record a grand finale to the annual “Hiru Avurudu Kumari” beauty pageant which is traditionally broadcast on the Sinhala and Tamil New Year’s day.

Stories of the gathering, which goes explicitly against rulings by the government’s health authorities to prevent the spread of COVID 19, spread like wildfire last night.

One Facebook post said this “retarded channel does not understand that COVID 19 affects everyone from Prince Charles to the slum dweller and this sort of event is irresponsible. They seem to believe that glamorous TV stars are not susceptible.”

Social media comments also attacked the owners of the Channel which some said “have the political power to go against all the rules.”

But Asia Broadcasting Corporation, owners of Hiru TV and its network of multi-lingual radio and TV channels says the story is just not true.

Vincent Silva, a Director at ABC, told EconomyNext that the grand finale of the annual pageant was cancelled.

“We held the preliminary rounds of the Avurudu Kumari contest bringing the number of contestants from several thousand down to dozens, but the finals were cancelled due to the coronavirus scare,” he said.

Several posts that had been on Facebook last evening about the rehearsal had been taken down this morning. One video, purportedly taken by a staffer of the rehearsal was deleted by this morning.

One staff member who was not on duty last evening at the Thalawathugoda studios speaking to EconomyNext on condition of anonymity said that the social media storm had caused the cancellation of the planned recording. (Colombo, 8 April, 2020)

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