The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed the
fundamental rights application filed by the ABC. Leave to
proceed was refused.
The Court also ordered Raynor Silva, Managing
Director, Asia Broadcasting Corporation to pay Rs. 250,000 cash
bail for having submitted a false affidavit to the Supreme Court
saying that they broadcasted a particular news item on October
24, 2007, when infact the affidavit had suppressed what the ABC
had actually broadcast.
The Court said that Raynor Silva will be dealt
with for contempt, for making a false statement to the Supreme
Court. The contempt proceeding will be held on November 26,
Court upheld both the objections made by the
Minister of Media, the Secretary to the Ministry and the
Telecommunication Regulation Commission.
The first objection taken by the respondents,
were that the ABC Pvt Limited was licenced on November 17, 1995,
but was in corporated after words on November 27, 1995. The ABC,
had no valid licence.
The second objection was that the fundamental
rights violation application filed by ABC challenging the
cancellation of its licence, had suppressed a very material
fact, that the ABC at 7.56 p.m. on November 24, 2007, had
broadcast that the LTTE had entered Tabarawe and another village
in Tissamaharama and massacred villagers. This totally false
news item had been repeated soon after. The petition submitted
to Court had said that at 8 p.m. and 8.20 p.m. on October 24,
2007, the ABC had announced that it had been reported that the
LTTE entered certain villages in Tissamaharama and the villagers
During the supporting of the petition, the Chief
Justice commented that the petitioner had attempted to mislead
the highest Court in the land. The Supreme Court had no room for
people who told lies. On October 24, 2007, the Chief Justice had
opened a new courts complex in Jaffna. The location was close to
the LTTE controlled area. But the event had gone on smoothly.
Even the LTTE had respect for a place of law and order. The ABC
should have broadcast this event, without resorting to lies that
could disrupt the nation.
Court ruled that the institution may apply to
the Authorities for a valid licence to broadcast. But the
Authorities should see to it, that no broadcasting station
disseminated false news.
Sanjeewa Jayewardene appeared with Rajiv
Amerasuriya instructed by Sudath Perera Associates for the
petitioner ABC Pvt., Limited.
Nihal Jayamanne PC appeared for the first
respondent Minister of Media Anura Priyadarshana Yapa.
The Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando
and Senior State Counsel, N. G. Pulle, appeared for the Ministry
Secretary. Palitha Kumarasinghe PC., appeared for the Director
General of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
The Bench comprised the Chief Justice Sarath N.
Silva and Justice N. E. Dissanayake.
The Contempt of Court issue against Raynor Silva
was fixed for November 26, 2007.