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SL: Apex court asks Fonseka to approach EC on 'media bias'

December 16, 2009 19:15 IST

Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has asked opposition presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka to direct his petition alleging bias on part of state-run media organisations to the election commissioner, before approaching the apex court.

A five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Asoka de Silva, hearing a fundamental rights petition filed by Fonseka against three state media organisations, said the petitioner should first seek remedy through the elections commissioner, the Times Online reported.

Fonseka in his petition against the media houses has alleged that they were biased in reporting events related to the January 26 presidential elections.

The bench was of the view that the petitioner could file a writ application in the Supreme Court if the election commissioner does not abide by the rules and regulations of the Election Act.

Earlier, the court granted permission to file amended papers in this regard, as this was a matter of national importance, the website said.

Fonseka, who will lock horns with the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the January 26 polls, signed his nominations papers on Tuesday which are to be filed on Thursday.

Fonseka will be contesting under the symbol of 'Swan' of the New Democratic Front.

He has promised to ensure complete media freedom if he is elected to the top post.

Fonseka, earlier this week, filed three fundamental rights applications against some state media institutions for their alleged misuse of public media.

He accused some state-run electronic media institutions of using the media for supporting President Mahinda Rajapaksa and defaming the opposition while reporting on the upcoming elections.

Fonseka, who is seeking to unseat Rajapaksa, has promised a new legislation for security and safety of mediapersons, if elected.
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