Fake News, Lake House & Colombo Telegraph

Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,MORE OPINION,Opinion |

By Saman Wagaarachchi

Saman Wagaarachchi

Three years ago, the term ‘fake news’ wouldn’t have made an impact in Sri Lanka because media was curtailed, journalists were kidnapped or shot for their dissenting views and websites with opposing views were shrouded to secrecy.

Enter Colombo Telegraph. It proclaims ‘in journalism truth is a process.’ That truth seems to be a veneer of lies when you have cultivated an online platform where ‘journalists’ can argue the pros and cons of treating women like chattel, the legalism of child marriage and corporate information without an iota of fact checking is published for public consumption like Gossip Lanka.

Yesterday, CT had published a news article saying ‘Lake House Directors To Be Replaced: Presidential Committee Finds Fault With Editorial Director

Two key points from the article are as below:

1: ‘It has been identified as the main reason for the abysmal performance of the company’s two Sinhala newspapers – Dinamina and Silumina – which have failed to show any progress in terms of sales, under the current management.’

Fact check: The sales of the ‘abysmal titles’ can be verified with the latest publication of the LMRB and as per Survey Research Lanka. This can also be cross-checked with me, the current Editorial Director at Lake House.

2: ‘The committee is to recommend the removal of Wagaarachchi from the current position.’

Along with Wagaarachchi, other directors too will be replaced to bring in a new management to the company, several top sources of the government added.

It is learnt that one member of the new board of directors will be nominated by President Maithripala Sirisena. The new member, according to sources close to the President will ensure that the President gets due coverage from the Lake House newspapers.’

Fact check: The board of ANCL is under no obligation to answer to this allegation but as of now, an inquiry is being made with respect to editorial improvements to be made across all the newspapers being circulated under the ANCL portfolio.

In the age of fake news, Donald Trump and the GOP were able to secure him a US Presidency. As the general public, we should perhaps be vigilant because online media needs to be strictly scrutinized to not mislead the public. Perhaps, the former President i.e. Mahinda Rajapaksa needs to adhere to this adage by Stephen King; “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on both of us.”

Over to you, the reader, don’t be fooled. Fact check the Colombo Telegraph who have perhaps diluted the truth in its process.


Editor’s Note: While standing by our story, Colombo Telegraph is now in a position to present a comprehensive account of the interaction between the Presidential Committee and the Board of Directors of the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited.

The Presidential Committee on the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited met the company’s board of directors and members of the senior management, in two separate meetings, on March 29, at the conference room of the company.

At the commencement of the meeting, ANCL Chairman Kavan Ratnayaka and its Finance Director presented details about financial performance of the company, including the growth of revenues and repayment of debts obtained by the previous management.

They also briefed the committee members on the corporate strategic plan of the company.

After this initial presentation, the committee members observed that despite the growth of revenue and the repayment of debts, the performance of the company’s newspapers are “abysmal”. in terms of content and sales.

Attorney-at-law Chandrasiri Seneviratne, a member of the committee, explained the manner in which previous managements of the company took measures to drive sales and increase readership of the Lake House newspapers.

At this point, former Supreme Court Judge Nimal Dissanayak, the Chairman of the Presidential Committee, commended the Daily News newspaper, saying it has shown great progress in terms of content, under the current management of the company.

However, the committee members concluded that performance of the two Sinhala newspapers has been disappointing. Editorial Director Saman Wagaarachchi is directly in charge of the editorial management of the two Sinhala newspapers. He does not get involved in the affairs of the company’s English and Tamil newspapers owing to language constraints .

Numerous mistakes on the part of the Sinhala newspapers, including factual errors and careless mistakes, were raised by committee members, to which the board members failed to respond.

These issues were also attributed to the Director Editorial who was responsible for the editorial management of the company.

Ridiculing the performance of the Sinhala newspapers, a committee member challenged the Director Editorial to reveal the circulation figures of Dinamina. No response was given. The results of LMRB or other surveys were not even mentioned during the Director Editorial’s discussions with the Presidential Committee.

This set the background for the Presidential Committee’s conclusion that the Director Editorial should be held responsible for the administrative failures of the editorial department.

In addition, a derogatory Facebook page, run by a Director of the company, has also created a heated situation among the members of the company’s senior management. Evidence has been found to prove that a member of the Director board had written derogatory posts for the Facebook page by the name of ‘Lake House aaraksha karanno’.

As a result of these issues, the government is now rushing to bring a new management, under a new Chairman, to administer the affairs of the state-run newspaper company and to streamline its operations.

Therefore, we wish to state that Mr. Saman Wagaarachchi’s claims on fake news have no bearing on us.

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23 Responses to Fake News, Lake House & Colombo Telegraph

  1. 3
    1
    Saman Wagaarachchi You write: “This can also be cross-checked with me, the current Editorial Director at Lake House.” I copy and paste an excerpt from a news item which was published on Saturday: “LG polls possible before Sinhala and Hindu New Year – PM Saturday, December 12, 2015 – 01:00 Sandasen MARASINGHEIrangika Range and Ishara Mudugamuwa The government expects to hold the Local Government election before the next Sinhala and Hindu New Year, said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament yesterday.” Wonder why Tamils celebrate Hindu new year and Buddhist celebrate Sinhalese new year. I haven’t stopped banging my head on my keyboard ever since I read the news item. Could you fact check for us since you claim to be the current Editorial Director at Lake House. If it is too much please ignore my request. Thanks

    Native Vedda
    April 18, 2017 at 10:13 pm
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      ‘Therefore, we wish to state that Mr. Saman Wagaarachchi’s claims on fake news have no bearing on us.’ SO WHEN YOU CMB telegraph published on the morning of the 8th of jan with pictures and a blow by blow account of how Gota fled to Maldives via a sea plane with the ‘loot’ and how rajapaksa kids fled to china, they were true and facts??? There are many more articles that CMB have falsely let run on their site later to edit them or take them down together. But when people point such facts out, (not the converted), their comments are not published self censored and banned. That is if you disagree with CMB telegraph version of truth or reality Truth really is a process lost

      Janik
      April 22, 2017 at 1:07 pm
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    This shit will be closed, If people avoid the lake house news papers. Waste of public money!

    srinath gunaratne
    April 18, 2017 at 10:14 pm
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      srinath gunaratne “This shit will be closed,If people avoid the lake house news papers.” Most income is generated from government advertising revenue. If government continues to place expensive mostly unnecessary adverts on numerous Lake House publications, the state owned institution will survive. Back to politicians who decide to sustain this business. “Waste of public money!” This is only one. Tax free vehicles bought by politicians, another source of waste. By the way, MR too bought one expensive vehicle. How was your Sinhala/Buddhist new year celebration? Wish you a happy Sinhala Tamil New Year.

      Native Vedda
      April 19, 2017 at 2:28 pm
      Reply

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    Dear Colombo Telegraph, I want to email some important pictures with regard to the crisis at Lake House.please give me your email address

    Sirisena
    April 18, 2017 at 11:33 pm
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      colombotelegraph@gmail.com The above is the CT email address. You may also find it on the About Us page at the bottom.

      David
      April 19, 2017 at 5:40 am
      Reply

  4. 2
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    Why Lake House cannot be sold to private investors?

    Mallaiyuran
    April 19, 2017 at 1:24 am
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  5. 2
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    Colombo Telegraph deserves the 2016 award for best journalism. Panama accounts(now forgotten) was a hot topic and those inquisitive were anxiously waiting to find out the names of the Sri Lankans involved. CT was among the first to break the news and published the list accompanied with a photograph of Gotabaya Rajapaksha! Any comments, dear editor? Soma

    soma
    April 19, 2017 at 2:05 am
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    somaaaaasss “Colombo Telegraph deserves the 2016 award for best journalism. ” No kidding!

    Native Vedda
    April 19, 2017 at 4:04 am
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    Can a person running a mud-slinging Facebook profile against his own company, while serving as a director, talk about CT’s integrity?

    Gunawijaya
    April 19, 2017 at 5:32 am
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  8. 2
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    “As the general public, we should perhaps be vigilant because online media needs to be strictly scrutinized to not mislead the public.” When government controlled media mislead the public that is ‘GooooD’. If online media mislead the public that is ‘BaaaaD’. When in opposition, politicians want free media but when they are in power free media is a monster that should be controlled.

    Eagle Eye
    April 19, 2017 at 8:13 am
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      Eagle Eye, Dr Clean, SL Citizen, and other “When government controlled media mislead the public that is ‘GooooD’.” In return, the journalists were given free laptops and free trips the whole arrangement was very, very, very good under/during clan rule. “When in opposition, politicians want free media but when they are in power free media is a monster that should be controlled.” Probably it is known as the guided democracy. If journalist exceeds his/her freedom, well Lasantha Wickrematunge could tell you about focusing on freedom only if he was still alive.

      Native Vedda
      April 19, 2017 at 9:59 pm
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    Poor soul Saman Waga, got the post at Lake House, thanks to his green blood and ability lick UNP balls. So, with his rather poor response to CT’s claim, Saman Wagaarachchi has silently declares to the public that his name should be changed. As Saman Gavaarachchi!

    max
    April 19, 2017 at 11:29 am
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      max I wish you a very good “Sinhala/Buddhist” new year, to the rest a very good Sinhala Tamil New Year. Did you have very good new year, drinking, eating, fighting and jolly for the week? Hope you don’t go back to your former moronic life.

      Native Vedda
      April 19, 2017 at 1:01 pm
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        Thanks for your wishes NV. Do hope, you too are fine and had a good relax during the holidays. April Avurudda is purely a Sinhala Buddhist. Term it as a “Sinhala/Tamil or Hindu”, a poor effort, either to deny the S/B culture or appease, falsely, Hindus. Neither Jaffna nor Southern India, celebrate April avurudda as their avrudda but ‘Thaipongal’. As far as I know, the Suddas have made this confusion in 1800s when they published the first holiday calendar. Yes I ate kevum, kokis but no drinks or fighting. I am no a rigid person and ready to change my views over anything if I am convinced. My sense works orderly to absorb right from wrong. Since recently I abstained from making comments mostly over local politics because thats a waste of time. Engaging in a debate with a hardcore UNPer or hardcore MR fan or an advocate of Tamil chauvinism also is futile at times. Cheers brother!

        max
        April 19, 2017 at 2:23 pm
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          max “Engaging in a debate with a hardcore UNPer or hardcore MR fan or an advocate of Tamil chauvinism also is futile at times.” If you exclude all those people from the list of your potential debating opponents do you debate with Sinhala/Buddhists, i.e. yourself in front of a mirror or may be your partner, that is if you have one? Recently the other public racist Nalin de Silva told the Daily Mirror that Indians particularly the Tamils and South East Asians copied the celebration of new year day from Sinhala/Buddhists. You too are alluding to the same conclusion. Please let me have evidence only from scholars who have spent their lifetime learning, researching, debating, … in their chosen field and not from Kamalika Pieris, Bandu de Silva, Shenali Waduge, Champika Ranawake, ……. and not from your own imagination, instinct, perception, creative writing, …………….. Thanks

          Native Vedda
          April 19, 2017 at 4:58 pm
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            NV, you missed my emphasis. Or the adjective. I said a ‘hardcore’ or a blind catchers one should skip a debate. Take a JVPer in full swing. Is there a point in having an argument with him/her over his beliefs or dialectic in marxism? Same goes with other ardent henchmen of LTTE, TNA, UNP, SLFP or SLPP! :-) Branding Nalin De S with various “titles” is not a new phenomenan. Even DJ does that. Tragedy is, those who bash him never come forward to challenge him on an open forum. N de S has been asking a simple question from the darlings of Tamil chauvinism since more than 25 years. Whats the unique problem Tamils have for being “Tamils”. (in Sri Lanka). Nirmal Ranjith recently gave an answer. Here it is. There’s no country as such to claim exclusively thats theirs! (Vedda, now do not start laugh at poor NRD for his lame answer). NV, since you seems to be a prodigy in many diciples, think of tackling Dr. Nalin. At least, we readers can enjoy your crispy language! At the same time, make me knowledgeable if you have evidance to prove the fact that, other than Sinhalese, there are other nations celebrate April Avurudda? Cheers

            max
            April 20, 2017 at 2:05 pm
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    There is proof that this guy is behind the slanderous Facebook page ARAKSHAKAYO. He should go down in the history as the only company director who insults his own institution on social media. If he argues otherwise, we are willing to share the evidence we have with CT via email and they can be published in the same comments thread.

    Sirisena
    April 19, 2017 at 12:48 pm
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    Disgracing the dead How did the standard of the newspaper Dinamina come down to such a poor a level? The article to which we give the link below says that D.D. Obeyesekere, the father of Wasantha Obeysekere being a lecturer at the Institute of Indigenous Medicine got his B.A. in English at the university of Peradeniya in 1955. The irony is that according to this article D.D. Obeyesekere and his elder son Gananath both got their B.A.s in the same year as if both were born in the same year. Would the Editorial Director care to take responsibility for such grave misrepresentation of facts published in a so-called national daily? http://epaper.dinamina.lk/art.asp?id=2017/04/11/pg17_2&pt=p&h=

    Nimal
    April 19, 2017 at 3:31 pm
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      Nimal Please note as a state owned institution we do not make mistakes, even if we know there were mistakes we don’t amend them, nor do we apologize to the injured party. You know why we Sri Lankans. May I request you to mind your own business as we have other serious thamasas to indulge in and glorify our politicians in power?

      Native Vedda
      April 20, 2017 at 10:38 am
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    Well, it seems CT, a mere website, is being taken seriously by the powers-that-be at the Beira mausoleum. That’s something for a start.

    old codger
    April 19, 2017 at 10:30 pm
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  13. 1
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    Performance of the Louse improved not because of the performance current board but because of te efforts of the previous Finance Director ‘Shan’ and General Manager ‘Abaya’ who through Voluntary retirement scheme brought expenses down. Employees number from closer to 5000was brought doen to 25000.Current Finance Firector without any knowledge of Finances or Management – he could not run a software company properly – hired expensive consultant their Royal buddies who have a taste for expensive things not hard work increased expenses. If not for Shan and Abhaya Lake house would have gone bankrupt now. The IT consultant known for his penchant for imported software disrupted the slow and steady process set up by previous management. Circulation system tender given to Royal club is not implemented by this expensive consultant for 16 months. Now he is trying to disrupt the systems painstakingly put in by the previous management. Hope all the consultants are also chased away to save lakehouse

    Exemployee
    April 20, 2017 at 8:06 am
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    Today most Journas have the freedom of the wild ass, unlike during the past Rajapakse regime, and they use this freedom without responsibility. Sometime ago I suggested that all Journalist must take responsibility for the articles they publish; they must have their names published along with the article published, and also be held accountable if they write “FAKE NEWS” and publish apologies subsequently for these “fake news” in subsequent articles. Further there must be “follow up news” published under their names on the news that they published earlier. Most times they escape by splashing banner headlines which turn out to be “Fake” and then quietly evade on follow up news and leave the reader wondering “what, where, why and whom” has happened. Maybe the Editors prefer not to follow this appeasement as they will lose out on space,and time, but from a Readers point of view and from a Newspapers credibility point of view it will be the done thing. Also over the long run the Paper will build a reputation for credible news and not Fake news and their sales would increase by leaps and bounds as readers recognize this feature in their News reporting and buy their Papers for clean and accurate news.

    eldorado
    April 21, 2017 at 8:19 pm
    Reply

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