Condemning a television station for using the term ‘belli’ (meaning bitch) to describe the way a woman sang ‘Danno budunge’ at the Independence Day ceremony, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he will be summoning the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority and the management of Derana TV to look into the matter as such irresponsible behavior cannot be treated lightly.
“I was shocked to hear such a derogatory term being used in the Derana news bulletin. They said the woman concerned was barking like a bitch (‘Belliyek wage kegahanawa’). They could have said that she sang the song in western or oriental style or more in Icelandic or Chinese style, praise or criticize it or even say she danced while singing, but can they say on television that this woman sang like a bitch?”, the premier queried.
Making a special statement from Heritage Hotel in Badulla, the Prime Minister further said: “What I am asking is whether a television or radio station refer to a woman and say she was barking like a bitch while singing a song? Who has the right to do this”.
“During the Rajapaksa era, they used unpleasant words to scold all of us. But, they won’t be allowed to resort to such behavior now. There are still pro-Rajapaksa elements trying to create discord.
“Though television and radio channels are owned by the respective institutions, licences to telecast/broadcast is given by the government. How can we give licences when they use derogatory terms such as bitch to describe a woman singing a song? We won’t allow such despicable behavior by those to whom permits are given for public telecasts. We are not prepared to give them a free hand to abuse the privilege given to them.
“Has Derana TV already inquired into this incident and initiated disciplinary action? Have they decided to apologize for it or not? I will summon the management and the TRCSL to find out how this was allowed to happen.
“We won’t allow anybody to incite and provoke racialism in this country again. There is the Rajapaksa clan at work, but we won’t allow them to trigger communal hatred. They say that the mother is the goddess at home, but did they condemn the disgraceful manner in which a woman was equated with a bitch?
“Now some journalists will shout from rooftops that the Prime Minister is trying to meddle with the media. Why were they silent when such a despicable word was used over this television channel? We must seek the opinion of the country.
“We have given pride of place to women. Their representation in local bodies are being increased. In the earlier Parliament, there were only six women but seven Rajapaksas! When we wanted to discuss greater women representation in power, the Rajapaksa clan disrupted it last Tuesday. They started shouting and didn’t allow us to present it in Parliament. We want to set aside 25% allocation for women in local bodies. But, this clan is opposing it.
“This shows how this clan treats women. They don’t want greater women representation in power sharing. Under this government, the national anthem was sung in Tamil as well on Independence Day. We have earned the respect of the world because we believe in equal right to all our people”
(Source: The Island)