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Ex CJ Says Government Cannot Sue Channel 4

Jul 9, 2011 3:27:36 PM - thesundayleader.lk

By Indika Sri Aravinda

Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva says the government cannot file legal action against Britain’s Channel 4 television over the recent controversial video it aired on Sri Lanka.
He said that while an individual who appears in the video can go to court in the UK and file defamation charges, a government legal action cannot be filed overseas.
The Sri Lankan government said last week that it is looking at avenues to file legal action against Channel 4 over the video it aired and will attempt to either seek an apology or compensation.
When asked if such legal action can be filed by the Sri Lankan government against a foreign television station, the former Chief Justice explained that only border issues or human rights related matters can be taken to an international court.
He said that if the Sri Lankan government feels it can go to court against the video then similarly countries like Britain and the US can take Sri Lanka to court for criticizing their governments at times.
Sarath N. Silva said Sri Lanka can however write to the broadcasting authority in Britain and seek action.
Channel 4 had recently aired a video on Sri Lanka titled ‘Sri Lanka’s killing fields’ which allege human rights abuses were committed in Sri Lanka during the final stages of the war. The video was also aired by Australian and Indian networks last week.