According to the interim report by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) on election coverage by the state and private media, while a fairer and more balanced approach was to be seen by both camps relative to the presidential election, there still remained instances of news outfits taking sides.
Among the findings of the report, titled ‘Electoral Integrity’ compiled by TISL’s “Program for the Protection of Public Resources”, it was stated that state media dedicated less space for politics than private media. Despite this however, it was skewed in favor of the United National Party (UNP).
Additionally, it was noted that the private media played a “commendable” role in educating the voter through programs, though this was tempered by the fact that certain TV channels hosted astrologers who predicted election outcomes favorable to certain parties and persons.
By way of summing up, the report notes that there was “better coverage of election regulations, violations, and administrative facts”, and there was a “significant improvement in the behavior of state media” in relation to the last presidency and election.