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Find source of ABC news item, SC directs

The Supreme Court yesterday directed the Attorney General to find the source of the news item broadcast by Asian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) about LTTE attacking village in the South in October, last year.

Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva PC made the direction when the contempt proceedings against ABC Managing Director Raynor de Silva was mentioned before the court.

The court however, noted that the investigations would not be a bar to grant of a new media licence. The CJ noted that plight of the employees should be considered in granting the media licence to the petitioner.

Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardane for petitioner gave an under taking that the petitioner would assist the AG to conduct the investigations. The Bench comprised Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva PC with Justice Nimal Gamini Amaratunga and Justice Saleem Marsoof PC. Earlier the MD pleaded innocence and stated in the affidavit that he had not intentionally misrepresented or suppressed facts by way of his affidavit.

The court earlier dismissing the Fundamental Rights case filed by ABC ordered the MD to explain as to why he had misled the court in the pleadings of his affidavit tendered along with the rights application of ABC.

ABC, the petitioner in the rights application sought a court directive to quash the order of suspension of its broadcast licence by the Media Ministry.

The Media Ministry had suspended the ABC licence due to the broadcast of false news that had created panic among the people in the south. Sanjeewa Jayawardane instructed by Sudath Perera Associates appeared for Raynor Silva.

Presidentís Counsel Palitha Kumarasinghe with I. Idroos appeared for the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and its Director General. Senior State Counsel Nerin Pulle appeared for the respondents.

The case will be mentioned on March 17.

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