25 October, 2020

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It Is Unbelievable That The Sunday Leader Has Apologised To Gotabaya, Says ARTICLE 19

By Article 19

In a shocking turn of events, Sri Lankan newspaper The Sunday Leader has formally apologised to defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa for reporting that the secretary had threatened the then editor with death.

Dr Agnes Callamard

“It is unbelievable that The Sunday Leader has apologised in front of the Sri Lanka Press Council to defence  secretory   Gotabaya Rajapaksa for reporting that the secretary had threatened former editor, Frederica Jansz with death – even though she recorded his call and the minister admitted to making it,” said Dr Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 executive director.

“Sri Lanka is due to go before the UN Human Rights Council in two weeks time for its Universal Periodic Review, and member states must urgently raise the terrible increase in impunity which is being reinforced by the highest levels of government,” she added.

The Sunday Leader – once one of Sri Lanka’s few remaining independent voices – was bought out by an ally of the president in September 2012. The new owner, Asanga Seneviratne almost immediately sacked the newspaper’s editor, Frederica Jansz, after she refused to prevent her reporters from criticising the government.

ARTICLE 19 warned the UN in April that affiliates of the president appeared to be buying up the private media in order to control their editorial lines, resulting in a severely reduced debate in a country that has only just emerged from conflict.

In the shadow report for the Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka – due in October 2012, ARTICLE 19 highlighted that media diversity and press freedom are under threat in Sri Lanka where affiliates of the president appear to be buying newspapers that criticise the government, in order to censor them.

Jansz was threatened with death in July 2012. She was conducting an interview over the phone with Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa when he told her: “You pig that eats shit! You shit shit dirty fucking journalist! […] People will kill you! People hate you! They will kill you!”

The Sunday Leader and its journalists have until now faced regular attack. The newspaper’s editor, Lasantha Wickramatunge, was assassinated on his way to work on 8 January 2009. Nobody has ever been prosecuted for the crime.

Related posts;

Bowed And Afraid: The Sunday Leader To Apologize To Gota For Calling Former Editor “A Fucking Pig Who Eats Shit”

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Latest comments

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    This country is F***ed. I was speaking with a 33 year old guy who was at the next door neighbours wedding yesterday, and today he came to do a small plumbing job…does not drink, only smokes grass….asked him if he had heard about the 18th amendment…was clueless. According to Homer, we had the lotus eaters…in SL we have the kiribath eaters and the grass smokers. aiyo sri lanka.

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      My Dear Bean (aka SJ)

      now put that down to Soma ( the drug not the monk) :)

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      Pres, what are you talking, leave alone this boy, I do not think the MPs who voted know the full impact of the 18th Amendment, because they are only interested in making money before the ship sinks and they lack the intellect to know they are unknowingly putting their necks on the chopping board and the day MR tightens his fist, it will be all too late for all of them.

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    Dear people of ARTICLE 19,
    We have our own way of doing things in our Muthu-Atey. Sunday Leader was against the government. The simple way of handling FJ and the clan is, one of agent of the ruling clan buy the news paper chase away unwanted people and apologize where ever you want and run the show. caravan goes on and on on on….

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    Good Sir,

    A Tamil proverb ryhmes well in the vernacular “panam endral pinamum
    vai thirakkum” (even a corpse will open its mouth at the mention of money) That is, arguably, the case here.

    Senguttuvan

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    NOT WORTH A COMMENT

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    What is wrong with the “Sunday Leader” becoming the Sunday edition of the “Daily News”? After all, the “people” are just lapping up the Government stooge Newspapers as evidenced by their huge circulation. We are Asia’s most literate and politically mature nation heading speedily to become its “Miracle”! Best to shed your conscience and join the happy band. The Senior Ministers are already there to welcome you!

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    It is tragic that the The Sunday leader; the brain child of the late Lasantha Wickramathunga who lived upto the slogan of ‘Unbowed and Unfraid’until his tragic death has now slunk to such low levels.
    The buying over of free media institutions by the acolytes of the Rajapakshas is the latest tactic to silence the voice of the free media.I am sure the actions of the Rajapaksha Troika would have won the admiration and approval of Heinrich Himmler and Paul Goebbels.

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