‘The SLRC will stand high with a new face soon’ | Daily News

40th Anniversary of SLRC

‘The SLRC will stand high with a new face soon’

Here are the excerpts from an exclusive interview conducted with the newly-appointed Chairman of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) Sonala Gunawardana on the present and future of the institution.

Q - What do you think about the past 40 years of the SLRC as an ordinary Sri Lankan citizen and a viewer?

A - It has been a roller coaster. There were ups and downs during the past 40 years. At the moment, the SLRC is facing some difficulties when it comes to finances and human resources. We have to balance these two and lift the institution up. As the new SLRC Chairman, now, I am working on it.

Q - What are your plans for the SLRC?

A - I do not want to reveal all plans because this is a very competitive industry. Therefore, it is better not to answer this question at this moment.

Q - What can be done in order to increase the ratings without damaging the quality of programmes?

A - There is this LMRB rating system. Unfortunately, we, the SLRC, had taken ourselves out from that rating system in the past due to various reasons. Because of this, the SLRC does not obtain certain advertisements and some companies do not advertise with the SLRC because it is not in the LMRB ratings. I decided to re-register with the LMRB rating system and also to do some good programmes of high quality in content and presentation.

Q - What do you think about private television channels?

A - Almost all private television channels exactly know how to attract viewers. But in terms of programmes, I do not think that they are as good as our (SLRC) programmes. Since we do not market ourselves that much, the private channels have already captured the audience. We have to compete with them well in order to position the SLRC in the market at a better place. We have to have a good strategy to come forward.

Q - What are the areas that required changes and improvements?

A - We, the SLRC, need a development from inside and outside. We have to improve our human resources as well as the programmes etc. Almost everything needs to be improved. During the last 40 years, various issues had been escalated due to political influences and many other reasons. We have to eliminate all those negative factors.

But, it is not that easy. We have to start from somewhere and walk forward with a new beginning.

Q - Do you have any plans to increase and improve English programmes telecast via Rupavahini?

A - At the moment, we have three channels, Rupavahini, the main channel, Nethra for Tamil programmes and Channel Eye for English programmes. Due to coverage issues, the SLRC had linked up Nethra and Channel Eye as one channel. Due to the changes in the schedule, we do not have a specific audience at the moment. Different programmes such as English programmes, Tamil programmes and sports programmes are telecast at different times at the moment.

We have to switch the Channel Eye to another frequency and telecast all English programmes via that channel and promote it as the English channel. We have to come up with a solid plan to lift the Channel Eye as our English channel. Right now, we are working on it.

Q - What will be done in order to improve the programmes, especially news telecasts?

A – In line with the 40th anniversary celebrations of the SLRC, the attire of our newsreaders are changed and changes are also be made to studios, news content and everything. Maybe some will criticise and blame me but I am ready to take up this challenge.

Q - Do you have any special messages to the people, especially to SLRC viewers?

A - The SLRC was known to people as the ‘Government’s trumpet’. We are going to change this perception. It is not as easy as someone thinks, but we have to start from somewhere because people have moved away from the SLRC due to that negative perception and some other reasons. This negative perception will fade away with time.

We have to telecast Government’s programmes and various development programmes etc. but still, we can maintain the balance between the Government’s programmes and the other programmes demanded by the public.

I request all our viewers islandwide to have patience and wait a couple of months. Then you will notice the positive change of the SLRC.

I assure you that the SLRC will not disappoint our viewers.


The Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), also known as Jathika Rupavahini (the National Television), is the National television network of Sri Lanka.

Established by Parliament under Act No. 6 of 1982 on February 14 for the provision of a National television service, it produces and broadcasts programmes in three languages. The SLRC is the largest television broadcaster in Sri Lanka and has an islandwide reception of its channels. The SLRC broadcasts its channels in both VHF and UHF frequencies in Sri Lanka. Currently, the network’s all services are available through analogue transmission. From 2011, Kokavil began to broadcast in DVB-T2 for the North area in Sri Lanka. Over 1,000 employees are attached to the SLRC.

In 1986, Rupavahini expanded their facilities and, in 1998, rehabilitated most of the original equipment using digital technology under three grant aid projects from the Japanese Government. Its studio complex is in Colombo, the commercial capital of Sri Lanka.

The complex comprises a master control room, four studios, two dubbing studios, a digital post-production unit, two analogue post-production units, several editing suites including non-linear editing, and four outside broadcast vehicles.

‘Rupavahini 2’ was launched in April 1999 before it changed its name to the current ‘Channel Eye’ in August 2000.

On January 1, 2008, Channel Eye became a time-shared channel, altering the newly-created Nethra TV. In 2009, a series of Rupavahini productions were made available in DVD and VCD formats under the title “RU Entertainments”.

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