Sri Lanka looks to set up broadcast regulator for television and radio

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is looking to regulate television and radio broadcasting and the cabinet of ministers had set up a committee to come up with recommendations, the state information office said.

Sri Lanka had drafted a law to set up a Broadcast Regulatory Commission. The committee will also review the law and make recommendations, under a proposal submitted by the information minister which had been cleared by the cabinet of ministry.

The committee will also look at the possibility of issuing formal licenses for radio and television by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka.

The committee has been cleared by the cabinet of ministers to look at both options and make recommendations.

Up to now television licenses have been issued using provisions of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (state television)Act of 1982 and Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (state radio company) Act of 1966

Sri Lanka has so far issued 27 radio licenses and 54 television licenses, of which only 18 radio stations and 28 television stations were found to be operating.

It is not clear how independent the proposed regulatory authority would be or whether it will go beyond issuing frequencies and enforcing technical standards and would also try to control content and news.

There have been questions raised about the independence of Sri Lanka’s telecom regulator after it was taken out of the telecom ministry and placed directly under the president. (Colombo/Mar05/2020)