Lanka’s Election Commission raps state TV for being biased
Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Election Commission on Friday pulled up the state TV for acting biased and carrying out propaganda to promote ruling party candidates in the January 8 snap presidential polls.
Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has asked the state TV Rupavahini to stick to the guidelines issued by the Commission on the conduct of media during electioneering.
“I have been informed by civil society groups, election monitoring groups and candidates that your station has been carrying out propaganda to promote candidates. This badly impedes the process of holding a free and fair election,” the Election Commissioner said in a letter.
The TV station has been asked to refrain from carrying out such propaganda.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is seeking a record third term, last month had called the snap election, two years before his second term ends.
Rajapaksa faces his former health minister Maithripala Sirisena who defected to the opposition to become the common candidate of the opposition for the presidential election.
Sirisena led a revolt in Rajapaksa’s ruling coalition, taking with him 11 ministers and lawmakers.
Rajapaksa – who was elected in 2005 and 2010 – is seeking reelection amid signs of a drop in popularity and demands of his powers to be curbed.
In the local elections in September, his United People’s Freedom Alliance suffered its worst losses, losing roughly 20 per cent support among voters.