18 November, 2019

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Ruwan Wijewardane Raps Sirisena For “Unethical” Move To Gazette Rupavahini Under Defence Ministry

State Minister for Mass Media Ruwan Wijewardane hit back against President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to take over the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and gazette the national broadcaster under the purview of the Ministry of Defence in an unprecedented move that legal experts have called unconstitutional and against the spirit of democracy.

In a strongly worded letter issued today State Minister Wijewardane laid out his reasons for seeking out a change of management at Rupavahini since he took office in February 2019. In his letter to the President, Wijewardane said that the state broadcaster was costing the Treasury and Sri Lankan tax payers Rs 50 million per month due to heavy losses.

Wijewardane said that for the past several months he had been trying to change the management of Rupavahini to make it more efficient, but his efforts had been obstructed repeatedly by President Sirisena.

He also accused the President of totally unethical conduct, but failing to inform the subject minister before gazetting Rupavahini Corporation under the Defence Ministry.

“There will be no way to prevent this action by you from being construed as a threat to media freedom” the State Minister said in his letter.

Several media rights organisations including the Free Media Movement and the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association have condemned President Sirisena’s move to gazette the state broadcaster under the MoD.

Media reports said that President Sirisena took over the state channel in order to prevent Wijewardane from appointing Kelum Palitha Maheeratne as Chairman of the Rupavahini Corporation. Sources said Wijewardane had been planning to install Maheeeratne by force. Maheeratne was appointed chairman by Ruwan Wijewardane on September 6.

A tussle has been ongoing between former Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Wijewardane over replacing appointments made during Samaraweera’s tenure as head of the ministry. According to reliable sources President Sirisena took over Rupavahini Corporation in order to continue to protect Samaraweera’s appointee Chairperson Inoka Sathyanganee from being ousted. Several members of the Sajith Premadasa faction continuously seek the assistance of President Sirisena in order to thwart efforts by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to penalise disloyal MPs by taking away portfolios and sacking their appointees. Recent attempts by the Prime Minister to remove a portfolio from UNP Chairman Kabir Hashim after the latter pledged support to Premadasa as presidential candidate were also stalled through the President’s intervention.

However with the month of October nearing the decision to move Rupavahini under the Defence Ministry is also being viewed with fear about whether President Sirisena is plotting another power grab with three months left in his term.

The following is the full text of the letter from Minister Ruwan Wijewardane to President Maithripala Sirisena:

Since taking took oaths before you as State Minister for Mass Media on February 22, 2019, on several times I tried to losses and mismanagement at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation by changing the management and appointing a chairman and skilled and efficient board members. I wish to point out that however citing various reasons, you obstructed my efforts.

SLRC is currently a burden on the Treasury, with audit reports showing losses exceeding Rs 50 million per month. Based on ratings surveys, the SLRC is currently ranked the No 6 TV channel. You will observe that this is evidence of the fact that the current Chairperson has been unable to make Rupavahini a television channel attractive to audiences. A majority of employees at SLRC will also testify to these facts.

Your decision to gazette the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation under the Defence Ministry is a problematic one. It is with great regret that I must point out that at no time in our history not even during the war has the national broadcaster been brought under the Ministry of Defence. It will be impossible to prevent this action by you being construed as a threat to media freedom in the country.

Even though the gazette claims that SLRC was being brought under the purview of the Media Ministry in order to strengthen national security, create national unity and reconciliation, use modern technology to muster greater viewership and promote media ethics, I wish to remind you that in the past four years you never intervened in this regard. Although you claim to seek to promote media ethics, I note with dismay that you did not exercise the minimum courtesy or ethics to inform me, as the subject minister about your decision to take SLRC over beforehand.

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Latest comments

  • 33
    1

    Do you think the word “Ethic” exists in our President’s vocabulary? I don’t believe he even knows the word. His daughter had given the best example for that; setting fire to his poor old man’s paddy field. Can you imagine a person with even a slightest moral value would do that? If he can do that to the paddy field which provided rice for them to survive, what more? Biting the hand that feeds him is not new to him. It shows from his young days he had been a very ungrateful, vindictive, unscrupulous man. Even in the dirtiest politics, it’s unheard of what he did to RW last October. It seems he is paving the way for Gota’s winning by appointing Shavendra, and now taking control of Rupavahini. Without any doubt he will learn his life lesson from Rajapakses this time if they win. MR will make sure of that. MS must be thinking he is getting away by doing all these lowly deeds. But there is something called Natural law. There he will have to face the curse of 6.2 million people who got betrayed by him.

    • 15
      1

      Rupavahini is making history by becoming the first TV channel in the world to produce a teledrama starring the country’s president, his daughter, media ministers (both ex and current) and the channel’s current chairperson and the new chairperson designate. Promises to be a super horror-comedy in the pre-election season.

    • 7
      1

      Gamage’
      If there is a thing called natural law, then MaRa/GoRa must be living Angoda by now regretting for all the pains they caused on thousands of innocent people. Even the worst seriel killers have justifications for their actions. Also, don’t forget the fact that three are religious leaders such as Alle Gunawansa, M Abhayathissa and even Cardinal Ranjith who would offer solace for inner conscious. Mahavansa tells us a similar story of offering solace to king Dutugamunu. Therefore, I don’t believe, even for a moment, that MY 3 will ever regret for what he has done/is doing! If he has any regret, it may be for being unable to fulfill his intentions completely – for example,pushing Ranil out of politics for good!

      The only way to teach them good lessons is to handing over bitter rejections at public forums – in elections!

      • 4
        1

        D.P.
        In my view Natural Law doesn’t work in that way. It takes its own sweet time. If you remember what happened to the leaders like Gaddafi, Sadam, Hosni Mubarak etc. I don’t want to mention a few of Sri Lankan examples, as it can hurt their family members. The religious leaders you mention are just like the politicians, if not worse. We don’t see any true spiritual personalities around very much, mainly because they don’t seek the limelight. Natural Law applies to everyone, not only the politicians. What’s in Mahavansa depends on the person who wrote that history. Some people have criticisms about K.M. de Silva’s “A History of Sri Lanka”. History books can be biased depending on how the author spins the factual incidents. I too don’t believe MY3 will ever regret for what he did, he will try his best to fulfill his dark deeds. Of course I totally agree with you despite from them getting their fair share by Natural Law, we have to do everything within our power to teach them a good lesson.

    • 4
      0

      Well said Mr Gamage. Sirisena, in his ignorance, probably thinks that, as President, he has unlimited powers & can do whatever he likes. He will do anything to please anybody with political clout who would throw him a lifeline to stay in power.
      I hope he will be kicked out to the willderness he came from & will be investigated for corruption, mismanagement & nepotism once he is out of office. Of course, it is unlikely that any politician or political crony will be ever found guilty or punished in SL but I live in hope.

      Currently, we have a Hobson’s choice when choosing a President, therefore, I hope someone with integrity from the civil society will come forward. In this context, I will support Nagananda Kodithuwakku, untested as he is, because an unknown angel is preferable to the known devils.

  • 9
    0

    President Sirisena does it again in grand style. He thinks he is a super President who knows everything under the sun while but he knows nothing. He became President by accident. The constitutional coup he triggered on October 26 and the ground shaking events that followed was an unmitigated disaster for the country. He became a laughing stock of everyone except his cronies.

    With just two months to the next presidential elections and having given up his intention to contest as a candidate, he wants to inflict maximum damage before he leaves the office. No doubt he will go down in history as the worst President Sri Lanka had since 1978.

  • 9
    1

    State Minister for Mass Media Ruwan Wijewardane ,

    Sirisena has earned the Titles of Traitor, Sevaaya (sleaze), Pachaya ( Liar), Mala-Perethaya ( Living off the dead) and he does not know what Ethic means.

    After all, he is a Para-Sinhala Para”Buddhist” and is “:qualified” to be the President of the Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhists” in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho.

    Not only the President, even the Para-Monks suffer from Ethic problems, and they claim to be the 3rd Gem of the Triple Gem., and the Para-Sinhala Para”Buddhists” , mean IQ 79, prostrate to these imbeciles, who are distortion of Buddhism and is an insult to the Buddha.

    • 0
      0

      Amarasiri aiya
      What is the English word for those who choose a Traitor, Sevalaya (sleaze), Pachaya ( Liar), Mala-Perethaya ( Living off the dead) as their leader to guide them along a great moral journey (Ex: Yahapalanaya). The Sinhala word is unprintable as per CT editorial policy.

      Soma

  • 8
    0

    He probably wants to appoint a family member or someone else to SLRC before he goes out after the election.

  • 7
    1

    There are all short of indications that Coup 5th of Yahapalanaya may be germinating soon. Earth is cut and seeds are planted. Now waiting time to see the tender shooting.

  • 6
    1

    Sri Lankans are fed of this type of infighting within the Yahapalana government. These ministers with PM and Prez don’t work to rebuild the country and nation. They are interested in their own well being.
    What people are interested in at this hour is a general election and presidential election in order to oust these useless rogues and find out a way to develop the country.

  • 7
    0

    A coup de gràce to Sri Lankans by the enfant terrible, during his twilight of miserable career, as President.

  • 0
    7

    Uncle Gamage, take your portion of blame for voting to bring such a paltry person to the position of head of the state. Even this statement of yours silently says what an immature political animal you are.

    • 5
      0

      Niece or Nephew Max,
      You are very right on that. Not only I am immature in politics, but also I have no plan of becoming politically savvy, specially in dirty politics, maybe someone like you. Of course I voted for him with the intention of having a just and fair society, and to salvage the country from the grip of tyrannical Rajapakse looters. Unfortunately things didn’t go as planed mainly due to the stubbornness of RW and the inferiority complex and the petty mindedness of MS. Crafty Rajapakses took the advantage of that infighting. The dreams of living a peaceful life of the citizens like me got totally shattered. Unfortunately we have ruthless looters, pigheaded buffoons and shallow mined jokers, but not real leaders. Only untested party leader is AKD from. PPM

  • 12
    0

    What a low third class scoundrel Sirisena is. All the dramas being played out to try to undermine the UNP led coalition is this scoundrels doing. By recruiting three of the worst performing UNP ministers and deputy ministers and adding to it a very early recruit the celebrated pole vaulter and pooftar he has tried his level best to thwart undermine and sabotage the UNP. The ingratitude is monumental. The utter betrayal of 6.2Million people who voted for this serpent is breath taking to watch. There is a list of 40 organizations (comic) who support Gotler. There is also a list of 60 things Gotler has done in the past on the e-news web site. Go read it if you understand Sinhalese. With lists like this only a mad man will think of running for public office and winning. But then there is Sirisena the scheming nasty side kick aiding and abetting in every way imaginable to make the impossible happen.

  • 6
    0

    I have said this before and I will say it again. Sirisena is a Moron who thinks he is a Genius. Further, I think he will set fire to the country soon and then he will be transported by helicopter from the president’s house straight into the lunatic asylum.

  • 3
    0

    Forget Sirisena for a moment.
    Ruwan has been sleeping with his silver spoon still in the mouth.
    Suddenly wake up to make these allegations, Ruwan go back to sleep.

  • 1
    0

    President Sirisena can be classed as a seasoned politician having learned many a thing during his tenure in the MR era. In fact, he was man Friday to MR and learned all the ropes he can under his administration. He knows what he is doing or is doing things that may be prompted by other “BIG’ names. He is trying every trick in the bag to prolong his stay as long as he can. He MAY not lean onto the Rajapakses as that will be like walking into the lion’s den. RW…no way and Sirisena is hell-bent in throwing RW and those closely associated with him into the deepest pit he can find. Sajith is a possibility to replace RW as he respects Sirisena and by a remote possibility it could even be the trusted and respected Kabir Hashim who, as of now, is close to Sirisena and is also a man of integrity and ability and the man of the hour.

    These are all but speculation in the event of the election being postponed due to reasons that can be created in the coming weeks and months. The current political climate is turbulent and is flowing in the direction of unpredictability.

    The need of the hour and the future is to find the man who is unbiased to lead the country out of the current mess and create unity amongst the people.

  • 0
    0

    In the election propaganda drama, coming soon to the theatre near you, UNP has already lost the queen. However with the remaining Rooks, Bishops, Knights
    and Pawns Sooththaraa Puncha anyhow will checkmate the Gamaya.

    Soma

  • 0
    0

    good for this fellow who blocked the roads to have a personal VIP ,ride

  • 1
    0

    It’s ignorance that put My3 into power.

    What else to be expected from Ignorance’s son?

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