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Last updated: 29 January, 2012 - Published 12:00 GMT
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'No funding' for parliamentary telecast

Deputy Speaker, Chandima Weerakkody (file photo: Saroj Pathirana)
Mr Weerakkody says he was impressed by the way Westminster parliament conducts PM's QandA
The deputy speaker of Sri Lanka says that the parliamentary authorities willl ways to find funding to broadcast live parliamentary debates discuss with electronic media.

Chandima Weerakkody, MP, said live parliamentary proceedings could already be watched through the webcast in the parliament’s website.

"We expect to call a meeting of all television and radio channels, chaired by the speaker, as soon as to discuss how to find finding for the live broadcast," he told BBC Sinhala service, Sandeshaya.

The deputy speaker, visited London by the invitation of UK parliament to study Westminster system in May, last year.

The deputy speaker was highly critical of the behaviour of certain parliamentarians, both from the opposition as well as the government.

Westminster tradition

"Something that I noticed during my tour was the way the Westminster parliament conducted its Prime Minister's questions," he said.

 The questions raised in the Sri Lankan parliament are usually aimed at scoring political points or slinging mud at somebody
Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody

The question and answer sessions in Sri Lanka parliament, according to Mr Weerakkody, are far more "private affairs" not policy issues that matter for the public.

"The questions raised in the Sri Lankan parliament are usually aimed at scoring political points or slinging mud at somebody," he told BBC Sinhala service.

"And we also noticed that some ministers take too long to answer questions raised."

He said, however, there is no plan to introduce similar Prime Minister’s question session in Sri Lanka parliament.

While opposition MPs chair parliamentary select committees (PSC) in Westminster parliament, the Sri Lankan parliament has recently appointed ministers in the serving government to chair PSCs that usually investigate governance and financial handling.

The deputy speaker, however, is of the opinion that the recent conduct of the opposition is not up to required standards to lead such an important role.

"There have been even occasions when the opposition failed to suggest names for a PSC," added Chandima Weerakkody, MP.

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