The editor of the Daily News, the state controlled publication that has become the voice of the Rajapaksa Government has called for the arrest of Al Jazeera journalist, Huffington Post and Colombo Telegraph columnist Dinouk Colombage.
On his personal twitter account Rajpal Abeynayake who edits the Daily News and has taken the state daily to the nadir has urged the Government authorities to ‘lock up’ Colambage and ‘Groundviews’ – for what he calls “murder on social media’.
“Save Lives” the Daily News Editor says in vitriolic posts on his Twitter page tagging Namal Rajapaksa MP, Media Ministry secretary Charith Herath and UNP MP Harsha de Silva. In a subsequent status Abeynayake also tags Sydney Consul General “Ambassador” Bandula Jayasekera in his “arrest them” post.
“Lock up the scum” he says in another post.
In a recent editorial Abeynayake called social media users vultures for their updates about the Aluthgama riots and hailed the Sri Lankan mainstream press for what he called their “responsible reporting”.
“You can tell what depths the press in Sri Lanka has sunk to with regard to the rioting in Aluthgama when Rajpal is praising them for a job well done” noted one local scribe.
The Government that maintained stony silence for five days after the riots broke out in Aluthgama and Beruwala last Sunday except for a few presidential tweets has been vocal in its criticism and guidelines for how the press and social media users are to report on the violence.
Abeynayake has been leading the charge. He is being assisted by another user called Hannah Steyn who has urged the authorities to track down the IPs of journalists like Dinouk.
Colombo Telegraph learns that the state Social Media Team has already met with the security establishment to share information.
Social media users are strongly advised to use caution as these websites may be under heavy Rajapaksa Government surveillance in the next few weeks.
— Rajpal Abeynayake (@Abeynayake) June 22, 2014