Independent Television Network (ITN)
The Independent Television Network (ITN), which began broadcasting on 13 April 1979, is considered to be the pioneer TV channel in Sri Lanka. Although ITN Limited, the company that initially owned the channel, commenced its operations as a private sector company in April 1979, it was nationalised by the Gazette Extraordinary No. 39/4 of June 1979. Since its amalgamation as a state-owned public company, all of its 9,500,000 shares are vested in the Secretary to the Treasury of the Government of Sri Lanka. This body comes under the purview of the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media.
The ITN channel primarily broadcasts content in the Sinhala language and its sister channel, Vasantham TV, broadcasts content in the Tamil language. For the year 2017, ITN had an audience reach of 7.0 percent. It transmits on a 20-hour schedule and features news and current affairs, teledramas, educational programmes, discussion shows and a component of imported English programmes, which mainly features films and drama.
Free to air
Media Companies / Groups
While the Independent Television Network (ITN) was nationalised by the Gazette Extraordinary No. 39/4 of June 1979, it was brought under the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation Act no. 6 of 1982 which is presently under the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media. The Secretary to the Treasury owns 100 percent of shares of the Independent Television Network Limited (ITN) which houses Vasantham TV. This body comes under the purview of the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media.
Affiliated Interests Founder
Shan Wickremesinghe is the eldest son of Esmond Wickremesinghe and Nalini Wickremesinghe (nee Wijewardene). His brother is Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is the incumbent Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and the Leader of the United National Party (UNP). Shan founded the Independent Television Network (ITN) in 1979. At the time, ITN was reportedly the first private TV station in the country. Shan's uncle, J.R. Jayawardene, was Sri Lanka’s first Executive President under the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka. Under J.R. Jayawardene’s government, ITN was converted into a state-owned property in 1979. Shan’s maternal grandfather, D.R. Wijewardene, established the Lake House Group, which became the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (ANCL). Currently, Shan serves as the Chairperson of Telshan Networks (Pvt) Limited, which owns the TNL TV channel and radio station.
Affiliated Interests Ceo
Chandana Thilakarathna is the CEO of Independent Television Network Limited (ITN). He served as a Senior Consultant at China Radio International. Before joining ITN, he served as the CEO for Sath FM.
Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief
Subash Jayawardena is the Chief Editor of News at ITN.
Affiliated Interests other important people
J.M. Thilaka Jayasundara was appointed the Chairperson of ITN in May 2018. She is the Additional Secretary (Development/ Planning) of the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media. She has previously held the following positions:
Director and Liaison Officer of the Asia Productivity Organisation (APO) in Sri Lanka
Director and Deputy Director of the National Productivity Secretariat (NPS) of Sri Lanka
Head of the National Productivity Organisation of Sri Lanka
Director of Planning, Research and Development within the Ministry of Labour Relations and Productivity Promotion
The Independent Television Network Limited
Revenue (in Mill. $)
Operating Profit (in Mill. $)
Advertising (in % of total funding)
The ownership structure of the Independent Television Network Limited (ITN) is not clearly described on its official website and there is minimal information on the current CEO, Chandana Thilakarathne. Meanwhile, The Fourth Report of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) revealed that from 1 September 2016 to 28 February 2017, many operational inefficiencies had been made on advertisements relating to the presidential election campaigns in January 2015. For instance, broadcasting advertisements to the value of Rs. 101, 773, 058/- were done free of charge to promote a particular presidential campaign. However, the report does not disclose the respective presidential campaign promoted by the channel.
Information on ITN’s shareholder structure was gathered through the annual returns available at the Department of Registrar of Companies. The most recent data was available for the year 2017. Alternatively, viewership data was obtained from the Lanka Market Research Bureau (LMRB) for the year 2017. While the Media Ownership Monitor research team reached out to the Independent Television Network Limited (ITN) by formally requesting for the company’s information on 20 July 2018, the company did not respond to the aforementioned request.