Media banned from taking pics of SL leaders while voting

COLOMBO, Nov. 14, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse (L) attends a Parliament session in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Nov. 14, 2018. Both Sri Lanka's sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the new Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse claimed they would continue to be in office following a no confidence vote against Rajapakse ended in chaos in the parliament on Wednesday. (Xinhua/A.Hapuarachic/IANS)

Colombo:  Photographers and videographers of print and electronic media outlets will not be permitted to take pictures of top Sri Lankan political leaders when they vote during Saturday’s presidential election, an official said here.

Information Director-General Nalaka Kaluwewa said that pictures of President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, former leader Chandrika Kumaratunga, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya will only be be taken by Department’s official photographers and would be issued immediately to all media institutions and social media platforms, the Daily Mirror reported on Friday.

“The Information Department will act as the main authoritative arm to disseminate official results of the Presidential Election 2019,” Kaluwewa told the media here on Thursday evening.

“The Information Department will issue election results to the media as usual. For the first time at this election, we have also decided to release election results on YouTube and Facebook for the convenience of social media users. We expect, this system will prevent the transmission of incorrect information on election results,” he added.

Print media institutions will get election results via e-mail or in a PDF format.

The Information Department will start releasing official election results live on YouTube at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Nearly 16 million Sri Lankans will go to the polls on Saturday to elect the eighth President of the country, in an election that will see a record number of 35 candidates in the fray.

This is the highest number of candidates to contest a presidential election in the island nation since the first was held in 1982, and up from 18 candidates who contested the poll in 2015.