17 November, 2018

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Arjuna Ranawana Joins Hands With Tiran Alles, Dharisha Bastians Takes Up Lake House Position

“Tourist journalist” Arjuna Ranawana has joined Ceylon Today as Editorial Director, owned by Tiran Alles, a former Member of Parliament and a man facing multiple charges of financial wrongdoing.

Arjuna Ranawana

Meanwhile Dharisha Basitians has been appointed as the Editor of ‘The Observer’ published by the state-owned and government controlled Lake House.

Bastians has won multiple awards for excellence in journalism. Lake House has the reputation for toeing the line the particular government in power. It comes under the Media Ministry and political loyalty is a non-negotiable prerequisite for anyone holding a top position.

Ranawana is well-known in media circles as a ‘tourist journalist’ who chooses to take up positions in Sri Lanka in ‘safe times’. He worked at Lake House as the Editor of the Daily News from April 2002 to March 2003, during the short-lived UNP regime under current prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

He was hired as the Director News at Maharaja Television for a fat purse and worked there briefly before being recruited as Director, Sri Lanka College of Journalism run by the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI). Not only did he secure a handsome remunerative package but even convinced SLPI to recruit his wife.

Ranawana left the island along with his family in April 2008 when they secured Canadian citizenship

Dharisha Bastians

.

Bastians has worked in several newspaper houses including the one owned by Alles. She left Ceylon Today along with the then editor, Lalith Allahakkoon and others, complaining of the management of curtailing editorial independence. Alles is also notoriously devoid of basic journalistic ethics.

After taking up these positions, both Ranawana and Bastians, who make out that they are liberal and independent journalists, have called and emailed independent columnists urging them to write for the two politically compromised publications they are in charge of. These columnists have been told that they could use pseudonyms if they so wish. Many of these columnists contribute to Colombo Telegraph.

Some of the columnists who spoke to Colombo Telegraph said that they are being offered payment, raising the concern that there is an attempt to co-opt them and force them to compromise their independence.

Colombo Telegraph notes that independent columnists with a liberal orientation when they agree to write for payment have been forced to dilute their contributions.

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Latest comments

  • 25
    4

    After accepting the editorial post, Bastians has proved that she remains independent, and has written even against the govt. CT should not just sling mud

  • 1
    8

    Article starts with ~ “………Arjuna Ranawana has joined Ceylon Today as Editorial Director, owned by Tiran Alles, a former Member of Parliament and a man facing multiple charges of financial wrongdoing”.
    ‘Wrongdoings’ has now been accepted as ‘doings of patriots’.
    Dharisha Basitians has been appointed as the Editor of ‘The Observer’ published by the state-owned and government controlled Lake House.

    Article goes on ~ “……… Ranawana and Bastians,……… emailed independent columnists urging them to write for the two politically compromised publications they are in charge of……..”.
    Do they have to head-hunt the Dayan Jayatillekas, Shenali Waduges and ilk?
    .
    The worry of CT is understandable. Remember the recent recommendation of the Ruwan Wijewardene Committee – “Strengthen Sinhala-Buddhist base of the UNP”. Will CT opt for this tactic for survival?

    • 6
      4

      By putting Bastians and Ranawana in the same league as Dayan, you expose your ignorance of Sri Lanka and its feature writers.

    • 2
      0

      Ranawana and Dharaisha Bastioans… look like proterstant gang….Is it with the push of civil aka Open society ?

      • 1
        0

        Dear Jim

        This is a very thoughtless comment. Your continued display of racial and religious prejudice does you great harm and you don’t deserve it.

  • 21
    8

    I am respectfully writing to give my impression of Arjuna Ranawana.

    After becoming the Editor of the Daily News in 2002, Ranawana whom I had never met, invited me to write a column for a payment. I happily agreed and began my column called No Holds Barred. I was handed over to the then Features editor Lyn Ockersz who liaised with me thereafter. I never met Ranawana but not one word of what I wrote was ever changed.

    I dropped my column because after Ranawa’s departure, chunks of my articles were being cut by the new editor. If something was favourable to the govt, it stayed; if not, it was cut. As a result I was being presented to the public as someone fully in agreement with the government. I had to leave.

    My message is this. Ranawana comes in the best traditions of journalis.

    As a post script, I met him for the first time at the memorial event for a friend’s mother a month or so ago.

    As for Bastians, she is fiercely independent, going by what she writes. I think rather than changing to suit the government, she is likely to change the Observer. I look forward to that and wish them both the best.

    • 12
      6

      This comment from Mr S.R.H. Hoole does enough to lift one’s spirits. All is not lost?

      • 1
        0

        J & F: Till recently I thought we are about to loose it all……but may be… just may be…..what we are witnessing is the end of pre-truth era in Sri Lanka…. not ready to put my money on it yet, but my fingers are firmly crossed.

      • 2
        0

        J&F,
        You can see the results in today’s Observer. There is coverage of the Presidential office bribery case, and a piece critical of the government by Sarath de Alwis. Pretty good going so far.

        • 1
          0

          That is a great leap forward OLD CODGER but the question is, how long will the spring last?

          Politicians here are notoriously impatient if there is no praise for them in the KEPT PRESS. Perhaps RANIL is the exeption?

          We shall see…….

          • 1
            0

            J&F,
            The “kept ” Observer was relatively vibrant in 2002/4 when Ranil was the PM. Ajit Samaranayaka was the Editor, I think.

    • 11
      7

      Bastians is a seasoned NGO hanger-on following the US embassy agenda for our future. Luckily no harm is likely to be done because, who reads The Observer anyway?

    • 8
      2

      S.R.H. Hoole,

      “As for Bastians, she is fiercely independent, going by what she writes. I think rather than changing to suit the government, she is likely to change the Observer. I look forward to that and wish them both the best.”

      Thanks for your comment.

      Looks like these two appointments are not lackey of the government. They can be the fifth columnists.

      A fifth column is any group of people who undermine a larger group from within, usually in favour of an enemy group or nation

    • 3
      1

      Mr. Hoole why not read what Mediawatch has commented below. BTW can you find one unbiased article by Bastians? She is an NGO elitist’s darling western boot licker, do prove otherwise if you can.

    • 2
      1

      Prof Hoole has cleared all doubts about this gent. He is the best referee to show the calibre of Arjuna Ranawana. We need not go any further.

  • 6
    9

    Only CT is really and truly independent but rest of SL news outlets have gone to the gutters, very biased, prejudiced, taking sides, and propagating owners and editors agendas.

    • 5
      0

      Ranjith
      CT is not that clean either.
      I will agree that it is among the better ones, despite a tendency to sensationalize matters..

  • 6
    4

    Everything has a price, including Bastians.

    • 2
      0

      Go for it.
      I don’t know much about Dharisha Bastians, but have some fainted memories of reading her in CT and comparing with Tisaranee Gunasekara. Unlike being bombastic like Ms Gunasekara, I think, that time, she sounded like more realistic. She was not a block cart on pebble stone road, on her thoughts.

      A man was watched for 4 years by Bribery Commission. President appointed him as his assistant only 4 months ago! That could be a mistake. But the drama is, without an investigation, give him a chance to talk, with an ostensible drama he fired him. But did not call him and consult him to stay out until inquiry is over or resign on his own forever.

      In a material world like Lankawe, even if Paththini Deviyo comes back now, you will be proved to be correct. This is the nature of Lanakwe now.

      A price, for anything!

  • 1
    5

    It is reliable understood Arjuna Ranawana has offered Dayan Jayathillake, Shenali Wadu Gani, Emil van der Poortan, Dr Ruwan Jayathunge (Psychiatrist), Rathnajeewan Hoole, Krishantha Cooray, Helasinghe Bandara, Dr MDP Dissanayake and Chandre Dharmawaradne Rs 5000 per article if they write independently. If this happens CT will lose a number of its columnists.

    • 5
      2

      Not fair to write untrue things like this. I have not had any communication as claimed.

      CT must stop being a forum for slanderers.

      • 2
        0

        CT has been a forum for slanderers for quite a while.
        I do not remember seeing many objections.

      • 0
        0

        That is a great leap forward OLD CODGER but the question is, how long will the spring last?

        Politicians here are notoriously impatient if there is no praise for them in the KEPT PRESS. Perhaps RANIL is the exeption?

        We shall see…….

      • 0
        0

        INDEED IT IS HIGH TIME THE EDITORIAL STAFF AT CT THOUGHT HARD OVER THE LABEL “A FORUM OF SLANDERERS”.

        PROVIDING SPACE FOR SLANDER IS NOT A PART OF EXERCISING PRESS FREEDOM.

  • 8
    2

    “Bastians has won multiple awards for excellence in journalism. Lake House has the reputation for toeing the line the particular government in power. It comes under the Media Ministry and political loyalty is a non-negotiable prerequisite for anyone holding a top position”

    I don’t know Ms. Bastians other than for reading her articles. She is anything but what CT has quoted above. She was fearless during the Rajapakse regime and wrote against them too. So CT’s POV is unacceptable.

    However I must admit that I am a bit perplexed that she has accepted such an appointment as it will definitely compromise her style of writing. Lets give her the benefit of our doubts and lets see how she stays independent in her views.

  • 4
    1

    At all costs we must stop Sajith from rising to top position of UNP. I ask everyone in the forum to write denouncing Sajith who is a useless guy – nidan hora who whose wife is an evangelist, sajith had a illegal affair with Gamini F;s ex wife Angela, the family is implicate in counterfeit notes, he wants tall fellows to become security guards short chaps to become clerks, gam udawa is not the solution to homelessness.

    Sajith is not worth his father, Premadas’s one finger nail. The family ought to have groomed Hema or Dulanjali instead.

    Join ‘Stop Sajith’ campaign today.

  • 8
    1

    Check mobile phones of Chief-of-Staff I.H.K. Mahanama and the Chairman of the State Timber Corporation P Dissanayaka, one would find Sirisena the President was in conversation prior to the bribe taking incident.

  • 1
    1

    I am sure Amrit Muthukumaru would be more than willing to contribute articles.

  • 3
    0

    ……Alles is also notoriously devoid of basic journalistic ethics……..
    This says it all about Tiran Alles.
    He made use of the Tsunami to fill his pockets…….
    He made use of the LTTE to fill his pockets.He was the go-between MaRa and the LTTE.
    How did this non-entity find himself rubbing shoulders with public figures [Including Mangala Samaraweera who now has disowned him!]
    If there was one man who saw through him right at the start it was Premier Ranil W.
    Voters in Jaffna were asked by the LTTE to refrain from voting in the 2015 Presidential poll which cost RW a win.
    Who was behind it with sackful of Money bags to influence the LTTE?
    Tiran Alles of course!!!

  • 6
    4

    Bastians an independent journalist? My foot! I am sure at least some here has seen what she concocts for NYT from time to time, and may have noticed her chumminess with Hilary Cliton’s stooge Samantha Powers. Of course Bastians is suited for the House by the Lake as long as the Yahapalas are in power, because she tows line for the elitist western boot lickers, onece the government changes she will be gone like the wind.
    For sure the Tisaranee Gunesekare and the lot will be preaching to the converted via the Observer for a payment, how cozy!

    • 2
      1

      wannihami

      “onece the government changes she will be gone like the wind.”

      You mean just like what your friend and Gota’s b*** s carrier Rajpal Abeynayake did immediately after the presidential elections.

  • 2
    2

    Re above Kamalini Mohotti.

    Sri Lanka’s plagerisem king (or Queen!) Shenali Wadu Gani is going to join Arjuna Ranawaka;s team! Oh my god!

    Being a prolific writer it is good that she will get pots of money but Arjuna must realise it is against journalist ethics to copycat other people’s scholry work., which is exactly what Shenali is doing.

  • 3
    1

    I do not think people like Emil van der Poortan, Sarath De Alwis, Shyamon Jayasinghe the cream of Sri Lanka;s writers and people with backbone would toe line with Arjuna, but, it is possible they go with Bastianz if she offers huge cash. We all like money!

  • 1
    1

    Bandula Jaysekera and Sharaz Sharkutali lick bones that Kili Maharajh throws at them. Their mission is to destroy Ranil at any and every cost. In the past 2 1/2 years the duo did absolutely nothing about bribery and corruption in Sri Lanka except blowing the Central Bank Bond Scheme trumphet. They will say nothing about this most latest bribe taking by All Sirisena men. So, in that way, the duo are the biggest corrupt kings in Sri Lanka. Shame on their journalism.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 5
    0

    In the name of sovereignty of our beloved motherland I ask Ranawana and Bastians not to secure articles from Hoole, Indrapalan, Somapalan, Kumari Jayawardane and Satchi Ponnambalam. They tend to promote separatism.

  • 3
    0

    Ranawana is a tournist journalist, what does he know about politics.

  • 0
    0

    Ranawana going into Hiran’s den I remind him of what happenned to Sarath Fonseka after befriending with Tiran Alles, the new media mafia king., after Kili Maharajah,

  • 1
    0

    I asked Thilanga Sumapthipala to merge with Tiran Alles, he did not listen to me.

  • 5
    0

    Nobody talks about E News Ban. LIFT THE BAN ON LANKA E NEWS.

  • 6
    2

    Sugunaya none of those mentioned by you are interested in Rs. 5000 per article.
    You are hallucinating………….or spewing venom.

    Narada watts…….. Shame-On Jayasinghe, who would want to pay this guy? He is just a one track guy favouring the ruling looters.
    Emil n Sarath are a different kettle of fish.

    Bastians was courting Malownoski, Powers, Biswal and company.
    Bastians can offer large sums of money as the looted channels may be opened to her…

    Amrit.M is an interesting writer who keeps to facts and figures.

  • 1
    0

    If Psychiatrist Ruwan Jayathunge, a prolific writer on everything, with no proper qualifications, joins Ranawana that will be Napolean meeting his Waterloo.

  • 1
    0

    I don’t know how Bastins got to pay these cream of the writer born out of Colombo Telegraph (given Lake House is poor), but people like Bopages (both), Dayan Jayathilake, J Perera,.K David, K Kamaladasa are likely to jump ship given the enormous publicity that they would get. CT loss would be Lake House gain.

  • 2
    1

    Bastians was handpicked by Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera for the post. Bastians is simply brilliant. A radical right wing who supports Hillary Clinton type politics and not Trump’s. I believe she will be symapthetic to Tamil Separatist viewpoint. Given that she had a sejourn in New York the likes of Rudrakumaran may benefit, not us the Tamil moderates.

  • 1
    0

    Arjuna Ranawana was an Anandian when Ravinatha Ariyasinghe was also there. Ranawana has extraordinary skills in befriending with people I am sure he will be a goldmine to Alles who is uppish and arrogant and possess a declining media empire.

  • 1
    0

    Ideally Ranwana should have joined with the Sumathipala brothers. He would not go wrong as the two brothers have deep pockets to pay even the newspaper does not sell due to the bookie industry

  • 2
    0

    Lankadeepa is the most successful newspaper today. Why did Ranjith Wijewardane missed the boat, why did he allow Alles and Observer to benefit over him?

  • 1
    0

    Thanks to CT lots of new journalists were born. Now someone else is reaping the reward. This is unfair.

  • 0
    0

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