COPE sessions open to the media from tomorrow

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By Rose Kenny

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya  said that a decision had been taken to open the sessions of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE)to media.

Reading out his announcements when the sittings commenced yesterday, the Speaker said that Committee room Number five had been upgraded with a camera system enabling transmitting the sessions of the COPE. “I like to mention this move as another step towards strengthening the parliamentary democratic system,” the Speaker said adding that he expects media to behave responsibly when reporting on committees.

UNP National List MP Prof Ashu Marasinghe welcomed the decision to open the COPE sessions to media and requested that action should be taken to open the sessions of the Sectoral Oversight Committees to media as well so that the country would be better informed of those sessions.

Speaker Jayasuriya said that the attention has already been drawn to open those sessions to the media.

JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti is the current Chairman of the COPE. The new COPE was appointed on January 11, as the previous committee stood dissolved following the prorogation of Parliament on October 27, 2018 by the President. The other 15 members of the COPE include Rauff Hakeem, Sujeewa Senasinghe, Dr Harsha de Silva, Ajith P Perera, Wasantha Aluvihare, Ranjan Ramanayake, Ashok Abeysinghe, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Lakshman Seneviratne, Chandrasiri Gajadheera, Mahindananada Aluthgamage, Dayasiri Jayasekera, Ravindra Samaraweera, Mavai Senathiraja, and Jayantha Samaraweera.

The COPE was established on July 21, 1979 with the intention of ensuring the compliance of financial discipline in Public Corporations and other Semi Governmental bodies in which the government has a financial stake.

The COPE is scheduled to meet at 2.30 p.m. tomorrow.

It is reported that permission has also been granted to release the inquiries and findings of the COPE committee to the media in the future. The decision had been taken in this regard following the relevant amendment carried out under the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act.