Tuesday, July 18, 2006

New levy: TV channels to wait and see - Daily Mirror 18th July 2006

The Television Joint Industry Committee (TJIC) comprising several private TV channels adopted a wait and see policy as President Rajapaksa failed to respond to their plea to reconsider the decision on the imposing of a levy on foreign programmes.

ETV head Laksman Bandaranayake told the Daily Mirror that they did not receive any response from the President yesterday as expected. However, he said that they had decided to watch the situation today.

He said ETV had decided to suspend all programmes that come under the new levy.We are only telecasting news at the moment, he said.

Meanwhile, Swarnavahini had decided to suspend all Hindi and English movies and replace them with local programmes. Swarnavahini Programmes Director Hema Nalin Karunaratne said they had made this decision as the levy imposed was high.

Responding to the TJIC statement which stated that other channels too were backing them, Mr. Karunaratne said he couldn't comment as he was not aware of what transpired at Sunday's media conference.

Earlier on Monday several TV channels warned that the country's tele-industry would crumble as a result of this levy. They said it would deprive the village youth of the opportunity to learn English through their subtitled programmes.

A letter to the Media Minister, signed by all channel heads also urged the government to reconsider its decision.

According to the Finance Act No. 11 of 2006, Rs. 75,000 would be charged for every half-hour, while Rs. 90,000 would be levied for each dubbed programme. In addition, Rs. one million would be charged for foreign advertisements.

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