Mano Tittawella, who also holds the position of Secretary General at the Secretariat for Coordination of Reconciliation Mechanisms appears to be opposing reconciliation instead of fulfilling his duties of promoting reconciliation in the country.
Gossipking.lk, a site owned by EAP Holdings, of which Tittawella, is the Chairman, was seen recently promoting a fabricated news story, which originally appeared in the Divaina newspaper with regard to the death of the two Jaffna university students and the bike they were traveling in. The same story claiming that the bike used by the students were an illegal one, was also highlighted in the Swarnavahini Live@8 Facebook page. Swarnavahini is also owned by EAP.
On October 25, a Divaina journalist by the name of Keerthi Warnakulasooriya wrote a fabricated news story claiming that the motorcycle used by the victims were a 1000CC motorbike, banned in Sri Lanka.
The story went on to say that the bike was ‘gifted’ to the victims by the diaspora (Tamil) living in Britain. However, the story was confirmed as a lie and was seen as a mischievous attempt aimed at spreading lies and attempting to justify the shooting incident which left two youth killed after police opened fire at them last week in Jaffna.
“The news media that comes under Tittawella should at least be responsible in their reporting, instead of just reproducing lies aimed at breaking down reconciliation. This is obviously planned, Keerthi writes lies, and Chathura De Alwis of Derana and other likeminded channels such as Swarnavahini promotes these lies,” a media researcher told the Colombo Telegraph.
The Divaina story has also received wide protest with civil society representatives writing a letter to the Divaina Editor, Jayantha Chandrasiri to protest against the article which appeared under the title ‘The Jaffna students who were shot were riding a prohibited high powered motorcycle.’ “The Bajaj CT 100 which the students were riding is a 100cc motorbike and NOT a “prohibited 1000cc bike” as stated in the news report. Furthermore, the writer uses this blatant lie, couched as a “fact”, to deliberately shift the focus of the reportage, and insinuate that the shooting, an incident of blatant police brutality, can somehow be explained or justified,” the letter signed by 55 people said.
They also called on the editor to take strong action against Warnakulasooriya for his irresponsible journalism, and issue a public apology for the newspaper’s unethical journalistic practice and policy.
The Bajaj CT 100 which the students were riding is a 100cc motorbike and NOT a “prohibited 1000cc bike: (Images taken by freelance photo journalist, Uthayarasa Shalin, on 21st October (Friday), 2016, at Kulappidi junction (site of the shooting), Kokuvil.)