Colombo Telegraph

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.

Mangala

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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