Callistus Davy the Sports Editor Sunday Observer has been sent on two months paid leave for a reporting blunder at the conclusion of 137th Battle of the Blues Royal Thomian Big Match, sources close to the Chairman Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited told Colombo Telegraph.
The veteran scribe counting over 25 years experience in sports journalism had carried an incomplete story in the Sunday Observer following Royal College’s remarkable victory. The story was written by Sports Journalist Ranjan Anandappa.
Nevertheless it is speculated that the reason behind the decision was because of Davy’s negligence in carrying a photograph of Chief Guest and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe handing over the D.S. Senanayake Shield to the winning Royal College captain. An Editor said “he carries the picture of the winning moment which as an editor he is entitled to”.”I am not sure if it was negligence or because President’s son Daham Sirisena was also on stage by forcibly making himself there. If they had to crop the picture to drop Daham from the scene, it would have caused much more problems for the Editor from President Sirisena’s side. He would have been caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. I think he played a forward defensive stroke here, but perhaps the doosra bowled by Premier Ranil’s friend trapped him in front of the stumps” he said.
However, when contacted a source close to ANCL Chairman Kavan Ratnayaka told Colombo Telegraph “He made a major blunder, So he was sent on leave. With paid salary etc.. He will be taken back in two months. The next day report on the Royal Thomian has no end and it ends somewhere in the middle, abruptly. That’s the main reason we took this decision.”
The source said that Davy had on numerous occasions carried “unfinished stories”. When asked if this was the first time he was suspended, the source said “yes”.
Both the print edition and the web edition online carries a story without the picture of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe handing over the trophy to the Royalist Captain.
Meanwhile, the former Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ Malinda Seneviratne, under whom Davy had worked earlier, dismissed the reasons offered for Davy’s suspension as being ‘flimsy and silly’.
“It is wrong to state that the story is incomplete. While it possible to claim that the story ends abruptly, it does carry all the vital information relevant to the match. What it lacks is detail. However, if lacking details is a crime warranting suspension then all sports editors should be worried about being punished. Details are often sacrificed due to a variety of number of reasons. There are other Big Match stories that are even more condensed than this one. Of course the Royal-Thomian could be considered more important due to its long history, but even then what’s been offered is a flimsy and silly reason for the punishment of a senior and respected sports journalist,” he said.
Colombo Telegraph did not contact ANCL Chairman Kavan Ratnayaka for a comment. Earlier when Colombo Telegraph questioned orders by the Prime Minister’s office to not carry Mahinda Rajapaksa’s “Medamulana Statement” on July 1, Ratnayaka said “I read Colombo Telegraph but I don’t question you,” he said in response.
Ranil’s freind Chairman Kavan, his brother Law and Order Minister Sagala as well as Prime Minster are old boys of the wining side – the Royalists.
Attempts to contact Davy failed.