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Carlton Sports Network (CSN), was a Sri Lankan sports, lifestyles and business television channel. CSN was launched on 7 March 2011. It is involved in a large number of controversies since its creation. "Carlton" is considered to be the "brand name" of the Rajapaksa family alongside the Carlton Residence of the Rajapaksas,Carlton Pre School owned by Shiranthi Rajapaksa and Carlton Rugby owned by Namal Rajapaksa as well as the Carlton Motor Sports Club linked to Rohitha Rajapaksa.[1][2][3]

Carlton Sports Network
Launched7 March 2011
ClosedOctober 2016
Owned byYoshitha Rajapaksa
Picture formatPAL
SloganWelcome to Sports!
CountrySri Lanka
Broadcast areaSri Lanka
Headquarters236/1 Denzil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha, Battaramulla
ReplacedTH TV, Prime TV Sri Lanka
UHF (Colombo)22
UHF (Ensalwatta)28
UHF (Jaffna)30
UHF (Karagahathenna)32
UHF (Nayabedda)30
UHF (Piduruthalagala)47
Dialog TV13
Lanka Broadband Networks72



Carlton Sports Network (Pvt) Ltd was registered as a company on 10 February 2011.[4] Its four directors were S. K. Dissanayaka (aged 22), A. R. Fernando (aged 23), S. Karunajeewa and Rohan Welivita.[4] The registered address of the company – 260/12 Torrington Avenue, Colombo 5 – had been used by President Rajapaksa during the 2004 parliamentary election.[4] Welivita is a Presidential Adviser on Electronic Media and is married to Anoma Welivita, the PA to Shiranthi Rajapaksa.[4] The CEO of CSN was Nishantha Ranatunga, the former secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), the controlling body for cricket in Sri Lanka.[5]

Dinesh Jayawardana was appointed a director on 1 March 2011.[6] Welivita ceased being a director on 6 March 2011.[6]

CSN was issued a licence to broadcast on 3 March 2011.[7] CSN started broadcasting on 7 March 2011, taking over the terrestrial frequencies and pay TV channels occupied by Prime TV Sri Lanka, a station operated by the state-owned Independent Television Network. The launch was celebrated by a special event held at the Atrium, Cinnamon Grand Hotel which was attended by Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Shiranthi Rajapaksa and Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage.[8]

From its creation, it had been speculated that CSN was owned by President Rajapaksa's family but those associated with the station denied this.[5][9][10] In June 2012 Sri Lanka Cricket admitted that CSN was owned by President Rajapaksa's sons Yoshitha Rajapaksa and Namal Rajapaksa.[11][12][verification needed]

Corruption investigationsEdit

Yoshitha Rajapaksa and four others including Nishantha Ranatunga, Rohan Weliwita were remanded on 30 January 2016 until 11 February, over the alleged financial irregularities at the CSN.[13] In August 2016 157.5 Million rupees were found and confiscated. Investigations revealed that the money has been deposited in a private bank under the name of a different company[14]


The network has been accused of misusing state funds under the former President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa and having not paid any taxes to the government. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, who opened the debate on the interim budget, introduced a Super Gain tax to charge a levy from some companies that prospered disproportionately during the tenure of the previous government while making a minimum contribution to the economy. He cited CSN as an example and said it had neither paid the spectrum tax nor the electricity charges. "CSN has usurped the sports telecasting rights of the state-run television channels and misappropriated the fleet of vehicles assigned to the Presidential Security Division (PSD) for its business operations. That is how it has made huge profits," the minister said adding that one-fourth of the income accrued by these companies will be charged as tax if they had made a profit of Rs.2,000 million or more during the financial year 2013/2014.[15]

Cricket broadcasting rightsEdit

Cricket is the most favourite sport of Sri Lanka and the rights to broadcast cricket can be very lucrative.[16] Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation paid Rs 143 million ($1.1 million) for the rights to the 2011 Cricket World Cup but earned Rs 556 million ($4.3 million) in advertising.[4][11]

Broadcasting regulations had meant that international cricket matches could only be broadcast by the state-owned media in Sri Lanka. As a consequence state-owned Rupavahini had had a monopoly on broadcasting cricket in Sri Lanka since 1996 except for one year.[11] In 2011 a cabinet decision was taken to amend the broadcasting regulations, allowing international cricket matches to be broadcast by either a state-owned broadcaster or a dedicated sports channel.[4][17] Taking advantage of this, the newly formed CSN won the broadcasting rights to the Australian tour of Sri Lanka.[18] Unusually, Rupavahini did not bid for the rights.

In 2011 CSN was also awarded the broadcasting rights to the newly created Sri Lanka Premier League and the Pakistani and Sri Lanka tour of UAE.[19][20]

In May 2012 CSN was awarded the broadcasting rights for cricket for three years (2012–2015) for Rs 125 million ($1 million).[11][21][22] It has been estimated that the rights should have cost the broadcaster at least Rs 3,000 million.[11] CSN was the only bidder for the rights.[21][23] It was highly unusual as previously rights had been awarded on a series-by-series basis.[11] MTV Channel (Pvt) Ltd, which owns rival sports station MTV Sports, has threatened legal action alleging a number of irregularities and a conflict of interest with SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga being CSN CEO.[24] The rights to telecast the 2015 ICC World Cup was removed from the channel by the new government and awarded to Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation.


  1. ^ Administrator. "We would never give up struggle to take over public funds robbed by fraudsters". Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  2. ^ "MP Anura Kumara makes observations on claims that Yoshitha's arrest was an act of political revenge - Newsfirst". Sri Lanka News - Newsfirst | News1st | | Breaking. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  3. ^ "Sri Lanka sports body, where Carlton Motor Sports voted, declared illegal".
  4. ^ a b c d e f Jayasundera, Ranjit (24 July 2011). "Carlton Sports Network And Somerset Entertainment". The Sunday Leader. Archived from the original on 2012-07-02.
  5. ^ a b "'No conflict' in CSN job – Nishantha". Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). 24 July 2011.
  6. ^ a b Wellamuna, J. C. (12 June 2012). "Surrendering airwaves and liberty to nepotism". Daily FT. Archived from the original on 16 July 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  7. ^ "Registered Institutions for Radio and TV licenses" (PDF). Ministry of Mass Media and Information, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-06-16.
  8. ^ "Sri Lanka's first sports TV channel launched". The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). 9 March 2012.
  9. ^ Pathirana, Saroj (19 March 2012). "Olympic rights 'will not be transferred'". BBC Sinhala.
  10. ^ "President's sons not involved in CSN". Sri Lankan Mirror/Lanka Journal. 25 July 2011. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Pathirana, Saroj (15 June 2012). "Sri Lanka Cricket defends TV deal". BBC Sport.
  12. ^ "Cricket Chief exposes Nishantha Ranatunga". The Island (Sri Lanka). 12 June 2012.
  13. ^ "Video: Yoshitha Rajapaksa remanded".
  14. ^ "Court orders confiscation of Rs.157.5 million CSN investment".
  15. ^ Bandara, Kelum; Perera, Yohan (5 February 2015). "More Taxes on CSN of Rajapaksa Sons". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  16. ^ "SLC officials are set of puppets, says Arjuna". The Island (Sri Lanka). 12 June 2012.
  17. ^ "Cabinet Decision taken on 2011-06-29". Cabinet Office, Sri Lanka.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Sri Lanka Cricket gives local TV rights to Carlton Sports". Lanka Business Online. 23 May 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-10-09.
  19. ^ "COPE spotlight fiddles by Sri Lanka Cricket". The Island (Sri Lanka). 3 December 2011.
  20. ^ "CSN to provide coverage of Sri Lanka – Pakistan Series". The Island (Sri Lanka). 22 October 2011.
  21. ^ a b "SLC secretary's company wins SLC's TV rights". Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). 23 May 2012.
  22. ^ Colombage, Dinouk (27 May 2012). "CSN Broadcast Deal Questioned". The Sunday Leader.
  23. ^ "SLC awards TV rights to Carlton Sports Network". SportsPro. 23 May 2012.
  24. ^ "MTV to challenge Sri Lanka Cricket's deal with CSN". Daily FT. 19 June 2012. Archived from the original on 22 August 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.

External linksEdit