Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC)

Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) was established in 1967 as Radio Ceylon. The history of the broadcaster harks back to 1925 when the station’s predecessor, Colombo Radio, was set up.

Media assets

Radio: Thesiya FM, City FM, SLBC National Service, SLBC Commercial Service, Radio Sri Lanka, Vidula, Yal FM, Rajarata, Ruhuna, Uva, Wayamba, Kandurata, Thendral, Pirei, Sports Service

State Media Matrix Typology: Captured Public/State-Managed (CaPu)

Ownership and governance

SLBC has been operating since 1972 as a state-owned corporation accountable to the Ministry of Mass Media. As a state corporation, the board of SLBC is appointed by the government, with the minister in charge of appointing the chairperson of the broadcaster. In June 2021, Hudson Samarasinghe, a former MP, was appointed chairman of the SLBC.

As part of the government’s plans of media reforms announced in December 2020, SLBC is foreseen to become, along with SLRC, accountable to a parliamentary commission.

Source of funding and budget

SLBC generates funding from commercial sources and receives a state subsidy, which is considerably much higher than what other state media get, yet below 50% of the company’s total funding. In 2020, according to the latest available data, SLBC had a budget of LKR 948m (US$ 5.1m), the state subsidy accounting for 46% of that.

Editorial independence

Having the power of appointing the SLBC’s governing board members, the government exerts full control over the editorial coverage of the broadcaster, according to local experts and journalists. The people appointed to these governing bodies at SLBC are usually former government officials or people appointed by the government to lead various public institutions.

No domestic statute and no independent assessment or oversight mechanism to validate the SLBC’s editorial independence have been identified.

September 2023