7 July, 2020

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Persecution And Harassment The Editor Had To Face Was A Result Of Not Catering To A Partisan Agenda

By Colombo Telegraph –

“We believe that we have, as a news desk, engaged in unbiased reportage and non-partisan commentary. We believe that the leadership for the desk was provided by Lalith, and we completely and wholly back his editorial positions during the period. We also believe, wholeheartedly and disapprovingly, that the persecution and harassment that he had to face was a result of not catering to a partisan agenda that was, at some stages, expected of him by the management.” resigned senior journalists of Ceylon Today said in their resignation letters. 

Wasantha, Dharisha, Wilson and Rasika

“It is in this light that we have decided that we do not wish to work in an environment and under a management that does not take care of its own. The decision was voluntary, the decision was without malice, and the decision was without hesitation – but it was one that we were compelled to make considering the circumstances.” they further say.

Below we give the resignation letter in full;

The Chairman,

Ceylon News Papers,

#101, Rosmead Place, Colombo 7.

 

Dear Tiran Alles,

When we started nearly ten months ago, some of us were attracted with the notion of being able to work alongside journalists in a professional, ethical and responsible media environment.

Dinidu

Ten months down the line, the dynamics have shifted, and the biggest threats to us, and the biggest threats to our integrity and independence come not from without the organisation, but from within.

It is also extremely disturbing, the persecution of our Editor-in-Chief Lalith Allahakkoon and our journalists that has arisen, based on false assumptions of political and ideological affiliations and allegiances; it is alarming, to a greater extent, that these persecutions and allegations stem from the highest echelons of the management, being you.

Siding with the concepts of justice, democracy and dignity of life for all people in the country, and being liberal and progressive in thinking, does not constitute a wrongdoing – yet these are the wrongdoings that you have accused our desk – and especially Lalith – of.

We believe that we have, as a news desk, engaged in unbiased reportage and non-partisan commentary. We believe that the leadership for the desk was provided by Lalith, and we completely and wholly back his editorial positions during the period. We also believe, wholeheartedly and disapprovingly, that the persecution and harassment that he had to face was a result of not catering to a partisan agenda that was, at some stages, expected of him by the management.

It is in this light that we have decided that we do not wish to work in an environment and under a management that does not take care of its own. The decision was voluntary, the decision was without malice, and the decision was without hesitation – but it was one that we were compelled to make considering the circumstances.

Please accept my resignation effective immediately, along with those of my colleagues.

Thanking you,

Wilson Gnanadass  – Deputy Editor

Dharisha Bastians  – Deputy Editor

Rasika Jayakody  – Journalist

Dinidu De Alwis – Journalist

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Latest comments

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    Thank God there a still journalists with principles around,[Edited out]

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    Thanks you! Great people – true journalists – speaking truth to power! Thanks for your courage and shining example.
    But what a disappointment to the discerning reader that this has happened at Ceylon Today which we had though was destined to do great things for Lanka at this time.
    BTW. does this mess happening now have anything to do with the release of Sarath Fonseka and Tiran Alles’ enlarged plans for power?! If this were so that would also be disappointing since for once at his Press Conference, SF seemed to have got his analysis of the situation in Lanka under Mahinda Rajapakse spot on – unlike the UNP’s Ranil who is a waffling dodo!

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    We though Ceylon Today would replace the Daily Mirror. DM has become a piece of trash that’s only fit to wipe Mahinda Rajapakse’s ass!

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    Only too true China Doll.

    Its a pity that the DM is a rag now and Ceylon Today also seems destined to the wastepaper basket.

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    i think for a weekend newspaper The Nation is growing very fast…rumour is that the paper is going daily and beware they could overtake DM and CT time to come!!

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    all journalists should get together and fight this out! Tiran has set a bad trend towards journalists by sacking an editor and a deputy. Other publishers might also follow it and sack journalists whom they dont want.

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    All it not what it seems.. those who preach unbiased reportage should first practise it, read any of the articles written by those who preach about not catering to a partisan agenda and see what they have been doing so far.

    Nothing in life is fair so People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

    You may not like – the regime or anyone else you choose, but that does not give you the right to force your prejudiced opinion about them on readers.

    People may come and go but Ceylon Today is still better and unbiased than what is out there.

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    [Edited out] Wasantha and Rasika were so loved at their previous workplace, Rivira media, so much that seniors of Rivira threatened to quit if they came back. Also did anyone lift a finger when Shantha was kicked out of Maubima?

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    @Insider, no one is forcing anything (let alone ‘prejudiced opinions’on anybody.

    Speaking as an outsider who is completely unaware as to the internal workings of the Sri Lankan media and what happened at Ceylon Today and who has no idea about the actual issues over the sackings and the resignations, I can only say that the media is judged by its own credibility.

    The management of Ceylon Today must clearly explain as to what the reason was for the sackings. In the absnece of this, rumours get stronger and anonymous outraged eails like yours do not really achieve much.

    And as for that response by ‘roshan’ in unabated support for the Nation, one can only hoot with laughter!

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    Insider..you sound like someone who has profited from the departure of this group. In fact it is because publishers like tiran allas and the likes believe that journalist can be bought and sold for a bottle of arrack that journalism has a bad name in sri lanka. of course different people have different agenda’s but bottom line is that a senior journalist like lalith alahakoon should not be treated like some coolie who can be kicked out because they believe in certain standards..there’s even a right way of doing the wrong thing. so all might not be the same at the place by people who gave money to the tigers to change election results..

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    Insider..you sound like someone who has profited from the departure of this group. In fact it is because publishers like tiran allas and the likes who believe that journalist can be bought and sold for a bottle of arrack that journalism has a bad name in sri lanka. of course different people have different agenda’s but bottom line is that a senior journalist like lalith alahakoon should not be treated like some coolie who can be kicked out when a crook like allas feels like it..this might be the fate of those who work for thilanga, ravi and the welgama’s.. there’s even a right way of doing the wrong thing..think about it before trying to white wash a pathetic bunch of goons

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    WE SALUTE TO THESE BRAVE JOURNALISTS .
    STILL WE HAVE SOME PEOPLE WHO CAN RAISE THE VOICE TO SAFEGUARD DIGNITY , JUSTICE AND DEMOCRACY OF THE MASSES OF SRI lANKA.NOT LIKE PAID LEACHES FROM BELL POTTING ER

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    Wow, insider does sound like someone who was inside Ceylon Today who wanted these four out.

    As a regular reader of Ceylon Today, I know the names. Dharisha Bastian, Rasika Jayakody and Dinidu de Alwis are names that are familiar. Readers would know that those three write most of the good front page stories.

    The paper will now undoubtedly suffer!

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    I start reading this paper few weeks ago, quality of their work is very impresive and profesional, sure I am going to miss them.

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    @SurangaSenarathna the reason they wrote most of the front page articles is because they were spoon fed and the others around them were sidelined. Even people in other departments were given more prominence.

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    Dear Insider,

    We hope that with ‘spoon-feeding’ and partisan reporting and prejudiced opinions now out of the way, you and all those left behind at Ceylon Today thrive and flourish as journalists.

    We hope that in registering our protest at attempts to stifle and oppress Ceylon Today’s editorial independence, we have adequately expressed to the management of the newspaper that not all journalists are so easily cowed and perhaps, with this knowledge, attempts to force Ceylon Today to pursue a partisan line will cease and that other journalists at the newspaper will have the strength of will to resist such attempts.

    We are grateful for the courage to stand up to injustice meted out to a veteran editor and we pray that if the same fate befalls another at Ceylon Today, there will be those who can stand against it. When we tendered our resignations last week, there were those who said their hearts were with us and that they should be standing alongside us. We hope that the next time around, you find the strength to act upon those inclinations.

    We wish for Ceylon Today, and its new editorial management, strength, independence and above all, courage.

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      Good luck Dharisha, to you and your colleagues, who make this stand. Good luck to all,wherever you choose to write, and express what many of us have no platform, to say, and you say it so brilliantly.
      It is such a joy to read what you write, but it is at the same time it seems unfortunate that we seem to be having less and less freedom, to publicly say anything that resembles criticism of our leaders, their selfish policies, and their political side kicks. A democracy means freedom of speech, and it is hard to find that today. It is even worse when our media keeps bowing down to pressure and decides to toe the line.

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    Insider..usually the types that complain about people being favoured are the bitter incompetent ones..I don’t know you or any of these journalist who have resigned. But I will say this in this day and age when we can find a dime a dozen of the likes of you in Sri Lnaka finding journalist of the caliber who have standards and ethics like the few people who have made a principled stand is absolutely a miracle. As bitter as you maybe the fact is people respect integrity over selfishness.

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    Indider..you sound a sad sad case

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    This an exampal for all selfish Jonalists. These are the real 4 people. Greatest is not enough for them. Lessan for every one not to bow down to Rich and drity, unethical systems.

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    I became a reader of Ceylon Today recently,because some news papers are biased and some are partisan, though I belong a particular party stopped reading a particular news paper,as it does not give independent view, but whats wrong with Ceylon today

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