Sinhala language channel Sirasa TV launched in 1998 under MTV Channel (Pvt) Limited, the first private TV station to maintain its operation in Sri Lanka. The company is part of one of Sri Lanka’s largest conglomerates, The Capital Maharaja Organisation Limited. English language channel MTV, now known as TV 1, and Tamil Language channel Shakthi TV, are Sirasa TV’s sister channels.
Since its early entry into the TV industry, Sirasa TV has featured a wide range of programmes including, news, talk shows, teledramas and well-known reality shows such as Sri Lanka’s Got Talent. In 2004, it was among key media outlets owned by Capital Maharaja that covered the Olympic Games for the first time in Sri Lanka. Sirasa TV has an audience share of 15.4 percent.
During the height of the war, in early 2009, the premises of the MTV Channel (Pvt) Limited and MBC Networks (Pvt) Limited were attacked by armed men who had reportedly held the staff at gunpoint and destroyed the main control room. Groundviews, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) considered the attack to be led by a government affiliated group. Former Secretary of Defense Gotabaya Rajapaksa however refuted such allegations levelled against the state.
In 2013, the incumbent Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera filed a court case against the Chairperson of The Capital Maharaja Organisation Limited, R. Rajamahendran, reportedly on the grounds that the latter’s media coverage of a communal clash in Matara was inciting members of the United National Party (UNP). However, the Matara Magistrate Court dismissed the case.
The premises of MTV Channel (Pvt) Limited and MBC Networks (Pvt) Limited were also reportedly attacked by the use of firecrackers in April 2018, allegedly following the defeat of the No Confidence Motion brought against the incumbent Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Media Companies / Groups
The Capital Maharaja Organisation Limited
MTV Channel (Pvt) Limited is a subsidiary of one of Sri Lanka's largest conglomerates, The Capital Maharaja Organisation Limited. The Capital Maharaja and its subsidiary companies have complex ownership structures. As per the structure of MTV Channels (Pvt) Limited, 10 companies own shares in the company. These are: MBC Networks (Pvt) Limited (35.34%), Vision Link (Pvt) Limited (20.83%), S-Lon Industrial Plastics (14.48%), Capital Holdings (12.95%), Jones Overseas (Pvt) Limited (5.45%), Stradbroke INV (Pvt) Limited (3.80%), Business Investments (Pvt) Limited (3.40%), The Capital Maharaja Organisation Limited (2.27%), Jones Land (Pvt) Limited (1.29%) and Dawson Capital (Pvt) Limited (0.16%). In turn, all of these companies appear as shareholders in their ownership structures, each part- owning the other.
For example, MBC Networks is owned by Capital Holdings (94.56%) and Vision Link (5.43%). However, Vision Link is owned by Jones Overseas (71.13%) and Capital Holdings (28.6%). Meanwhile, Jones Overseas is also owned by Capital Holdings (43.66%), Harrisons Colombo Limited (36.42%), The Capital Maharaja Organisation Limited (19.92%) and R. Rajamahendran (0.00003%); Harrisons Colombo Limited is owned by S-Lon Lanka (99.99%); S-Lon Lanka is owned by Vision Link (53.46%) and S-Lon Industrial Plastics (46.50%); S-Lon Industrial Plastics is owned by Vision Link (84.2%) and Capital Holdings (15.79%). In total, 18 companies within the Maharaja Organisation were researched. All of these companies have Capital Holdings as a shareholder at some level in their ownership structures. Capital Holdings (Pvt) Limited is directly owned by the Rajamahendrans, i.e. Rajandram Rajamahendran (79.95%) and his son Sashidharan Rajamahendran (20.05%). The calculations of shares indicate that the Rajamahendran family has overall ownership over all these companies.
Affiliated Interests Founder
Rajandram Maharaja and Rajandram Rajamahendran are the founders of Sirasa TV, and the sons of Sinnathamby Rajandram, one of the founders of The Capital Maharaja Organisation Limited. Rajandram Maharaja was married to Padma Maharaja, an enterprising figure who had her own fashion label called 'Vati' and also served on the board of Hilton Hotel. She passed away in 2016. Rajandram Rajamahendran is married to Cannice Rajamahendran. She is the CEO of Rumours salon, a company under the organisation. While both brothers took over the organisation, Rajandram Maharaja eventually retired. In 2018, Rajandram Rajamahendran's son, Sashidharan Rajamahendran, was appointed as Managing Director of the organisation. Meanwhile, Rajamahendran's daughter, Anjali Rajamahendran, is a Group Director in the organisation. Pradeep Maharaja, the son of Rajandram Maharaja and Padma Maharaja, is also a Group Director in the organisation. In 2015, Pradeep was appointed to the board of directors at the Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka (MBSL).
Affiliated Interests Ceo
Susara Dinal – serves as the CEO of MTV Channel (Pvt) Limited. Previously, he held the post of Channel Head at Sirasa TV. He also contested for the Western Provincial Council Polls from the Gampaha District in 2014.
Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief
Affiliated Interests other important people
Nedra Weerasinghe – Heads Capital Maharaja's media divisions, the MTV Channel and MBC Networks. She is a Group Director in the organisation. Previously, she headed the group's two GSA airline operations, namely, Northwest Airlines and Royal Jordanian. Additionally, she has headed Capital Maharaja's commercially successful pipe manufacturing entity, S-Lon Lanka.
MBC/ MTV Channels (Pvt) Ltd.
45/3, Braybrook Place, Colombo-02
Tel : +94112851371
Revenue (in Mill. $)
Operating Profit (in Mill. $)
Advertising (in % of total funding)
The official websites of Sirasa TV and The Capital Maharaja Organisation Limited do not provide sufficient information about the channel’s ownership. Meanwhile, secondary sources also remain inadequate to determine both the founder and details related to the ownership of the outlet. As such, shareholder details were gathered through the annual returns available at the Department of Registrar of Companies. The most recently available data for MTV Channel (Pvt) Limited and the Capital Maharaja Organisation is from the year 2017. Viewership data was obtained from the Kantar Lanka Market Research Bureau (LMRB) for the year 2017. The address of Sirasa TV, as per its official website, is listed in Pannipitiya. However, reports covering the recent attack in April 2018 on the channel’s premises lists the address as Baybrooke Place. While the Media Ownership Monitor research team reached out to The Capital Maharaja Organisation Limited by formally requesting for the company’s information on 20 July 2018, the company did not respond to the aforementioned request.