23 October, 2021


Mangala Back To Old Tricks Of Subverting Freedom Of Expression

Minister of Media Mangala Samaraweera who carries a poor track record when he held the same portfolio during the Chandrika Kumaranatunga era, has commenced suppressing the free flowing expressions of columnists. He has castigated Thushara Wanniarachchi, a staunch United National Party member and current Coordinating Secretary of the Ministry of National Policy and Economics.


Thushara Wanniarchchi a frequent columnist for Colombo Telegraph and who also freely posts political comments and statements on his Facebook page, had recently written an article in Sinhala which was published by Colombo Telegraph. The metaphorical meaning of his titled story “66 වියැති මහල්ලාගේ ගමනක අවසානය” (End of the road for the old man of 66 years) refers to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. In his column Wanniarchchi goes on to criticize the SLFP and provides an account of its history from inception, its philosophy and its current state of affairs.

A couple of hours after his article was published Wanniarchchi contacted the Editor of Colombo Telegraph and requested that his story be removed. He cited that he was under pressure. When asked who was putting him under pressure Wanniarchchi said “various elements”. However he did not mention any names. The Editor of Colombo Telegraph informed him that he would remove it only if he could provide a credible reason for doing so. The Editor cited this as he has to keep his readership aware if the story was to be deleted. However Wanniarchchi is yet to provide a credible reason.

Meanwhile Colombo Telegraph learned that Minister Managala Samaraweera had expressed his displeasure to Wanniarchchi and had gone on to vehemently criticise him for writing such a story, especially in his capacity as a Coordinating Secretary of the Ministry of National Policy and Economics.

Reliable sources close to Minister Samaraweera told Colombo Telegraph that the Minister was displeased with Thushara as he was a member of the UNP-SLFP Media Unit run by Samaraweera and that an article of this nature would certainly affect the unity of the SLFP-UNP led unity government.

Since Colombo Telegraph got to know that Thushara is a Coordinating Secretary of the Ministry of National Policy and Economics, it made special note of the writer’s details below each column that was published. (By Jacqueline Senanayake)

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Latest comments

  • 12

    mangala,please don’t go on this path.The rajapakshes went on the path of suppressing critiscm and see what happened to them. Consider criticism as a friend ,not an enemy and take the remedial measures that are necessary to make that criticism not valid anymore and have a long reign.

  • 7

    Samira got off Scot Free……. Now ..It is clear as daylight who the customer for the 30 g of Hashish was………….Plus most probably the 3g of Snuff………Who else can afford the latter anyway unless one is on Ministerial perks…….Crystal meth would have been for Samire and his mates for sure….That would have numbed the pain if they had to crash at the Ministerial Quarters after the Party…..God bless Yahpalanaya……..

  • 9

    Sounds like Mangala was asking Wanniarchchi to act ib a proefessional manner! If you are a staunch member of the unp and part of Ministry of National Policy then why are you writing artcles like that?

    he is not a journalist! even from a purly UNP perspective it is a stupid thing to write given they need support from the SLFP.

  • 4

    Is it Thisuri or Thushara Wanniarachchi who is the “frequent contributor to CT” ?
    In any case, I don’t think government PR people are entitled to comment adversely on internal politics. Even the “Daily Noise” doesn’t.
    Get your act straight, CT. Propagandists don’t have freedom of expression.

  • 4

    Not a surprise, a leopard never changes its spots

  • 5

    What a disgraceful Homo sapien this being is? How can he even think of limiting freedom of expression by anyone while fighting for all kinds of freedoms for drug use, dry humping and unnatural intercourse? Only in Sri Lanka!

  • 5

    This government led by Ranil-Mangala is going to be worse than that of Rajapaksas in terms of media freedom. This has to be nipped in the bud.—

    Though I have never read Thusara’s articles, Mangala’s logic as revealed by CT, to suppress him is hilarious. It is like crab daddy telling crab babies to walk straight. What will happen is, crab babies will start migrating.—

    When Ranil and Mangala tabled Geneva Resolution, disregarding SLFP views, didn’t it affect the SLFP-UNP unity government? —

    When Ranil and Mangala supported War Crimes Tribunal, a Hybrid Court, totally disregarding the opposing views of the President and the SLFP, didn’t it affect the SLFP-UNP unity government? —

    When Ranil established FCID to carry out political witch-hunting against UPFA MPP, did SLFP approve or support it? Did any UNP MP went to jail, I don’t remember. —

    When Ranil and Mangla sold Hambantota Port totally ignoring concerns of the SLFP, didn’t it affect the SLFP-UNP unity government? —

    When Ranil’s hand-pick Sarath Fonseka contradicted none other than the President on General JJ, didn’t it affect the SLFP-UNP unity government? —

    Mangala never cared about the position of the SLFP. Thusara didn’t do anything wrong but followed his master’s footsteps. —

    The new e-ID is a violation of people’s fundamental rights. It is a breach of the confidentiality of citizens. People need not to give so much details to obtain an ID. The name, address and the date of birth is more than enough as it goes through Grama Niladhari. It is dangerous if all these information of the citizens of Sri Lanka goes to a foreign element. This government is not trustworthy at all. They can easily abuse such information. One can even manipulate election results. People should convey their strong objection to government’s latest attempt to violate their privacy.


    • 3

      Continuation …..

      Mangala’s second such attempt is the New Inland Revenue Act (IRA). The sole purpose is to rob people, businesses, temples and devalayas. Yes, Devalayas too, that is why a well planned chaotic situation erupted at Kataragama out of the blue to give the impression to the public that custodians of devalayas are rogues. —

      If they want to give incentives to local entrepreneurs, they can easily do that, without bringing a brand new IRA.

      Mangala is lying. Many parts of the Act is vague. For an example; low income religious places. This is totally wrong. Religious places are not business ventures. They were not established to generate income. Individuals don’t own religious places. For an example, Buddhist temples have no owners like business owners. The Maha Sangha is only the Custodians of the temple. Temples belonging to Monastic Orders which don’t come under the category of Business. The mention of religious places in the new IRA is totally wrong.This is government’s sneaky way to rob temples. What will happen is, laymen will stop making donations to temples when they realize that a good chunk of their donations goes to the government as income tax. The state of temples will start deteriorating. I don’t know why Maha Sangha is silent over this. All religious places should be completely exempted from taxes. —

      This Parliament does not represent the entire citizenry, especially independent thinkers. The new IRA should be made available to Maha Sangha and public for their views. This Act should be open for a “Public Debate” before a ‘Parliamentary Debate”. Over to you, Mr. President.

      • 2

        You say:
        ” Religious places are not business ventures. They were not established to generate income. Individuals don’t own religious places.”
        They ARE business ventures, and individuals own them. Otherwise, why have some monks filed cases against other monks for rights over temples? Podi Hamuduruwo of Gangaramaya and Muruttetuwe Ananda of Abhayaramaya live luxurious lives for example. They will not travel in anything less than a BMW or Benz. Is this what the stupid dayakayas donate money for?
        The Vinaya pitaka says monks should walk, and not even use slippers. These monks and the ones who run big devales like Kataragama are businessmen fleecing the stupid faithful.

      • 3


        “They were not established to generate income. “

        then why are they generating income?If they generate income and have profits then they become businesses just like any other business and have to pay their share of taxes too don’t you think?

        “All religious places should be completely exempted from taxes. —”

        they should also be exempted from all government funding and other privileges don’t you think?Do they pay their water and tax bills and rates and rent etc?Do they get any money from the government budget which is the people’s money.They are supposed to get money directly from the people not indirectly though budget as per their religious teachings.My comments are not only for bhuddhist temples but for hindu ones and churches and mosques too.They must deal direct with people,not get any subsidies or funding through government.Then only we will know whether they are doing their duties properly and are appreciated by the people.

        ” I don’t know why Maha Sangha is silent over this.’
        because they must be getting a thumping amount of funding and subsidies and free prime land from the government,so how can they criticise their benefactor.

    • 0

      Contd’ …..

      Mangala’s sneaky ways, more to say.

      FM has issued a statement denying reports about income tax to be paid by individuals/families starts at Rs. 600,000. Ok, what is the tax bracket for individual/families then? There should be a clear definition. When you say a family, there are categories, such as; single parent with children and without children, two parents with children and without children, married couple with one earner without children and with children. All salient sections are kept vague allowing government to have the upper hand to increase tax rate any time. For example, for a family of 2 children where both parents earn with an annual income of Rs. 800,000, if the tax rate for 2017 is 5% of their income, next year government can increase it to 10%. Nobody can stop.—

      According to the Book titled “The Report: Sri Lanka” by Oxford Business Group, the average monthly household income in 2013 (I couldn’t find after) is Rs. 45,878 ($330) and the estimated average household expenditure is Rs. 41,444 ($298)!!! This is where our country stands. If this system is implemented the middle class will collapse in no time. On the other hand, (as per the above book) “the richest” 20% of SL’s population is in possession of 52.6% of all income in the country. Even then their average monthly household income is only Rs. 121,368 ($874) in 2015. What logic is there to introduce this new IRA, a system which is only suitable for monetarily well-being countries whose average monthly household income is around $4,328 (USA).

      Mangala’s New IRA is nothing but another cheap shot and a dirty trick to rob masses which should be rejected point blank.

      Wake up and fight for your rights, people!!!

  • 5

    If I understand correctly, Thushara Wanniarachchi, ‘a staunch United National Party member and current Coordinating Secretary of the Ministry of National Policy and Economics’, wrote an article, factual or otherwise (but apparently not very complimentary), about (his opinion of) the decline of the SLFP & got his knuckles rapped by the FM, Mangala.

    I think, Mr Wanniarachchi, holding a responsible position in the Govt. where the President is the current leader of this party in question, should have known better than to publish such an article, & I totally agree that it ”would certainly affect the unity of the SLFP-UNP led unity government”. Therefore, I think MS acted responsibly & correctly.

    Media freedom is all about freedom to express one’s thoughts without fear of prosecution but a high ranking public official’s mockery of another political party is not what its all about. Leave political satire to comedians.

  • 5

    Mahanayaka of Asgiriya said no New Constitution………….Now Sira says Jagath and Shavendra and Gallage and Gunaratna will never be handed over to anyone on Sira’s Watch…..Even Field Marshal Kala Vedda’s apprentice, and current Army Commander says no War Crimes in his Army……No wonder the Field Marshall is spraying anyone and every one who cross path with him………He even sprayed Prez Sira yesterday saying Sira is a gutless Politikka…….No wonder Mangalan has to resort to old tricks.. Mangalan sponsored the “Resolution” with the Bedouin Prince to hold WC Trials, and give Vellala Eelaam to TNA Sambnada n…… And signed it on behalf of the UNP , under direct Instructions from Dr Ranil……….Now Mangalan has to deliver ……..Right?…. Can he ?….. Dr Ranil made Kala Vedda a FM, hoping to surround the Prez with the help of his Apprentice in case Sinhala Buddhists rise against the UNP………Looks like now Kalavedda has to do it himself with the Deserters Army which he controls……..Mangalan needs more Smoking and more Snorting perhaps, to keep calm and cool……Where is Dr Ranil?………..

    • 0

      “Now Sira says Jagath and Shavendra and Gallage and Gunaratna will never be handed over to anyone on Sira’s Watch..”

      How about this set of “h e r o e s” not in the diplomatic tire:
      “Wasantha Karannagoda Com. Navy during the war. Missing youth in 2008 – 2009.
      Kapila Hendawitharana, ex.Chief of National Intelligence. re a Jaffna-based satellite TV Group.
      Jagath Jayasuriya, ex- Army (Vanni) Commander re. disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda.
      Donald Perera, ex-Air Force Commander/Chief of Defence Staff re the 2006 MiG deal.
      Roshan Goonetillake ex.Air force Commander. Questioned by the FCID regarding the MiG deal.
      Daya Ratnayake ex. Army Commander re Serious Acts of Fraud in EP and Corruption about the removal of scrap iron from the Kankesanturai Cement factory.
      Jayanath Colombage . ex Commander of the Navy charged over the Avant Guard case.
      Somatilleke Dissanayake ex Commander of the Navy charged over the Avant Guard case.
      Jayantha Perera ex. Commander of the Navy charged over the Avant Guard case.
      Police DIG K. L. M. Sarathchandra arrested for the misappropriation of a vehicle.
      Police DIG Anura Senanayake – remand for allegedly covering up Thajudeen’s alleged murder.
      Major Gen. (Rtd) Mahinda Hathurusinghe:re Serious Acts of Fraud and Corruption re the removal of scrap iron from the Kankesanturai Cement factory.
      Major Gen. (Rtd) Udaya Perera & Director Operations of the Army re Serious Acts of Fraud and Corruption about the removal of scrap iron from the Kankesanturai Cement factory.
      Navy Commodore D.K.P.Dassanayake. re Missing youth 2008-09
      Directors of Military Intelligence Amal Karunasekera and Major Gen. Suresh Sallay. Questioned. Three Navy officers were arrested and tried for the assassination of parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj but all of them were acquitted.
      F.M. Sarath Fonseka – and ex-DS Gotabaya Rajapakse are also liked to the Forces”.

  • 5

    When Mahinda Rajapakse was the president, Avamangala had eight web sites all spreading lies and hate propaganda against Mahinda Rajapakse. Now, LGBTQ boy wants to limit the press freedom, So, they will be safe for the election. I heard some one else in the United UNpatriotic Party saying they would even ban FACE Book, probably during the election time. Yahapalanaya, my foot.

  • 1

    “Being dishonest is necessary for national interest”? Dishonest analyst telling about dishonest clubs! May I know the planet you live!!!

    So called National interest is nothing but hiding the postwar killings of citizens refusing the right to credible inquire and let it to accused!!!

    Shame! Shame! Shame!

  • 4

    If Mr Thushara Wanniarachchi resigns from the position of Coordinating Secretary of the Ministry of National Policy and Economics he is entitled to write anything he likes. If he does not resign he has to conform to the appropriate requirements of his formal office.

    Mr Mangala Samaraweera is entirely correct in reprimanding Mr Wanniarachchi.

    • 1

      Homo sapiens are jumping out of their hiding places to support OurMangala!

  • 0

    Leaders the world over are sensitive to criticisms through media. Just look at the frequent Trump outbursts.
    Whatever form the Mangala-interference is, it must never reactivate the use white-vans. CT is in fact pointing this out to Mangala.

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