20 November, 2019

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Scribes Urge Ceylon Today, Mawbima To Apologise To Ahimsa Over Distorted Picture: “Tomorrow It Could Be Our Children Fighting For Justice”

A group of senior journalists have urged two private newspapers to apologise to Ahimsa Wickrematunge, the daughter of slain Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, after they published a manipulated image featuring her holding a portrait of her later father.Issuing a media release, the editors and journalists said they “condemned in the strongest possible terms” the coordinated decision by two newspapers to use a manipulated photograph of a victim of crime in their reporting of a matter of extraordinary public interest.

The original photograph was one of her holding a framed picture of her father, the late Lasantha Wickrematunge.

The image published on the front pages of Mawbima and Ceylon Today removed the visage of Wickrematunge and replaced it with an extract of the American judicial decision that was unfavourable to her, the release said.

“To the journalist community in Sri Lanka, Ms. Wickrematunge is no ordinary litigant. Her father is no ordinary victim. He was one of us. Whoever killed Lasantha Wickrematunge, it is undisputed that his murder was provoked by his journalism. It is also undisputed that 10 years later, this heinous crime has gone unpunished,” the media release said.

The statement said that whatever the merits of the litigation brought by Ms. Wickrematunge in seeking accountability for her father’s murder, as journalists one must respect the legitimacy of her grief and pursuit of justice.

The statement was endorsed by Sunday Island Editor Manik De Silva, Daily News Editor Lakshman Gunasekera, Anidda Editor K.W. Janaranjana, The Morning Editor Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema, Silumina Editor Chaminda Wariyagoda, Sunday Observer Editor Dharisha Bastians, Resa Editor Ranjith Samarakoon and Easwaran Rutnam, Associate Editor, The Morning, D.B.S.Jeyaraj – Freelance Journalist/Columnist, Dilrukshi Handunetti, Lawyer and Journalist, Marianne David, Deputy Editor, Daily FT, Malik Gunathilaka – Chief Sub Editor, The Sunday Morning, Nirmala Kannangara, Editor-Investigations, Daily Mirror, Raisa Wickrematunge, Senior Associate Editor, HIMAL, Ashwin Hemmathagama Lobby Correspondent/ Journalist – Daily FT, Madhushka Balasuriya – Journalist, Daily FT, Dhaneshi Yatawara, freelance journalist, Deepanjali Abeywardena, Ethics Eye, Indi Samarajiva, Blogger and the South Asia Free Media Association.

We publish below the statement in full

Use of Manipulated Photograph on Front Pages of Mawbima and Ceylon Today

We, the undersigned senior journalists, condemn in the strongest possible terms, the coordinated decision by the above mentioned newspapers to use a manipulated photograph of a victim of crime in their reporting of a matter of extraordinary public interest.

In their reporting of a judicial decision in the United States, these newspapers deliberately manipulated a photograph of Ms. Ahimsa Wickrematunge in a derogatory and insulting manner. The original photograph was one of her holding a framed picture of her father, the late Mr. Lasantha Wickrematunge. The image published on the front pages of Mawbima and Ceylon Today removed the visage of Mr. Wickrematunge and replaced it with an extract of the American judicial decision that was unfavourable to her.

To the journalist community in Sri Lanka, Ms. Wickrematunge is no ordinary litigant. Her father is no ordinary victim. He was one of us. Whoever killed Lasantha Wickrematunge, it is undisputed that his murder was provoked by his journalism. It is also undisputed that 10 years later, this heinous crime has gone unpunished.

Whatever the merits of the litigation brought by Ms. Wickrematunge in seeking accountability for her father’s murder, as journalists ourselves, we must respect the legitimacy of her grief and pursuit of justice. Lasantha Wickrematunge was yesterday’s victim. Tomorrow, it could be one of us who is murdered under a future regime, and it could be our sons or daughters who fight for justice on our behalf.

We need not agree with Ms. Wickrematunge’s views, but as members of a fraternity of professionals who have too often been subjected to abduction, torture and murder for practicing our craft, it is incumbent on us all to respect the highest ethical standards when reporting on matters connected to the pursuit of justice by the kin of our fallen colleagues.

We therefore urge our fellow journalists and editors at Mawbima and Ceylon Today to tender an immediate and unconditional apology to Ms. Ahimsa Wickrematunge and to refrain from allowing similar ethical lapses in the future.

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Latest comments

  • 10
    78

    Why? The edited one is more appropriate for the occasion.

    • 60
      6

      This Elections will go down in history just like the German Elections that brought Hitler into power! People have forgotten how bad the country suffered under the Rajapaksa Fascist Dictatorship, like a person suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in denial that the threat of a Authoritarian Fascist Dictatorship is still a real threat! These individuals numb and anesthetized by their denial want to have a protest vote playing right into the Sri Lankan Hitlers hands and indirectly bringing the Rajapaksas Fascist Dictatorship back…

      The Rajapaksa camp are banking on the protest voter sheep to give them the advantage that they will not get if they are aware of this strategy. Keep the sheep thinking they are smart and are making an intelligent and tactical move only to pull the rug from under their feet to bring back the Fascist Dictatorship…

      This is similar how America got Donald Trump, they new strategy of outfoxing the so called educated intelligent voters into bringing about their most undesirable candidate into power without them even knowing how they played their part in doing so!

      The choice is simply Democracy or a Fascist Dictatorship!?

      Even the alternative candidates are realizing the dangers of the return of a Rajapaksa Dictatorship and their role in making it happen!

      • 20
        4

        Sajith Premadasa, will you take action against the Rajapaksa Criminals or will you fail to take action against them too? Will you allow the criminal case against the Rajapaksas to go forward or will you slow them down and protect them? We need a guarantee that justice for Lasantha Wickrematunge, Wasim Thajudeen, Prageeth Eknaligoda and all those white vaned and wronged by the Rajapaksas will be brought to justice? Don’t just be the candidate that got votes to save Sri Lanka from a Fascist Dictatorship.

        • 3
          3

          Sajith Premadasa will protect them of course. Everyone has forgotten that there is a system which is functioning that governs this nation. This system is the one that protected ELITE Families breed. This special breed of worms that they have branded as “The Govigama” are unpredictable lot when it comes to upholding the RIGHTS of a citizen. They were a creation of the BRITISH who chose them to be undisputed rulers or the “RAJA YOGA” crap bearers. They are also strongly linked to the GLOBAL ZIONIST movement which is headed by the US/EU & Israel which is why the GOVI criminals so not get caught to any courts or legal systems in the world. The rejection of the US legal system simply falls under this very same protection mechanism which is going on for many decades in the process of establishing the Evil – “New World Order “ that sees Islam and the Muslims as enemies. So, the politics of Rajapakse/Sirisena/Ranil is about fomenting RACIAL disputes among the population. From DS, Banda, JR, Sirimavo, Rajapakse, Sirisena is this continuity. Sirisena was the blatant of them all. He protected and also took Gnanasara (the govi contractor employed for the spreading of communalism) to Japan on a state tour and released him from the serving jail term and been declared by Sira as Gnanasara not a terrorist although his main function is committing TERRORISM against targeted communities and individuals. This the Judiciary, Law enforcements are bended to serve the Govi domination and Govi allied crimes.

          • 2
            0

            Well said dear,this is the absolute truth since the independence,Govi,hierarchy put the democrats values & civil administration in disarray for an un ending disaster.

            • 1
              0

              Dear Wijayasiri, Thanks for compliments. As I always say, if you cant see the problems on Govigama angle something that we as a nation facing them throughout a century, we will never, ever going to find the solutions to save our motherland. When you find the GOVIGAMA ELITE’s link with the Zionist project which is operated from Washington DC, London, Paris and Tel-Aviv, that will lead to the annihilation of the Sinhala race as whole from the face of this earth. Look, the Sinhala’s has an ancient connections with the Tamils, ruling and managing this land amicably without any problem. The conflicts were started only when the British arrived and took over everything and then made it as a single entity for their convenience. But, when they were about to leave in 1948, they have already created the AGENTS (GOVIGAMA Ruling Elites) stamped and sealed as the ONLY ONES who are eligible to rule over us. This is very deceptive and secretive. The British or the Zionist cabal need not to be physically present with their armies to control the population. The Govi criminals will do a better job and there wont be any questions arising with a FOREIGN FORCE occupying the land. The Govi’s will work as remote controlled power on behalf of the Zionists and this is exactly whats goin on now. Thats why the UN or any western power has still not punished them for crimes of seven decades long.

            • 0
              1

              To be more clear, the Zionists want Sinhala, Tamils always at their throats and will lead to mutual destructions to both the communities. Now, they have added Sinhala-Muslim clash plus Muslim-Christian clash and the Muslim-Tamil clash. All of these clashes are worked from the Jathika Hela Urumaya planning room with Rajapakse band leadership. Sira and Ranil act as facilitators as the Racist criminals requires govt., and the state cover-up mechanism to unleash violence or to implement the GOVI-ZIONIST-BJP joint operations. This is why when the Rajapakses were defeated, Sira and Ranil did not wanted to destroy the Rajapakse band. They managed to keep them safe for future plans. Thats how the SLPP was given a chance to blossom out of nowhere and the election results were manipulated to give them a victory to make it look authentic. So that people will believe it as truth and the SLPP could be marketed as a viable third force. Nobody knows exactly how they won. Because, the Rajapakses were so unpopular that there was no chance of them winning any election. Sira played a deceitful game on this and he is the prime reason for the birth and the survival of the SLPP.

    • 27
      6

      Ahimsa,

      SEE what Sarath Fonseka has to say. Please share.

      https://youtu.be/RF-JiaAqsJg

      The man who killed your father, Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa is a coward, and Traitor.

      He is the front man for the Rajapaksa Mafia. The problem to be solved is to let the ignorant populace know.

      • 6
        18

        Amarasiri, who are you to be the judge and jury of the verdict? Did you witness or have any proof that Gotabaya killed Lasantha? Where were you during 20/30 years of terrorism! In the battlefield or under your bed like a coward.

        • 11
          4

          Lanka,

          Where was Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa from 1990 to 2005, when Sarath Fonseka and others were fighting the Separatists, created by the Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhists”, as a distortion of Buddhism and as an insult to the Buddha earlier?

    • 2
      2

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

      For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 6
      0

      Kubo – Boku, the word “ignoramus” is more appropriate for an A.H. like you.

    • 7
      1

      Kubo, in Australia people like you are known as brainless Dickheads.

  • 28
    5

    Media freedom ensured by the present government is a good thing. But as far as the thugs who run/edit Mawbima and Ceylon Today are concerned, it is like casting pearls before swine.

    • 8
      3

      Ajay,

      ” …But as far as the thugs who run/edit Mawbima and Ceylon Today are concerned, i…it is like casting pearls before swine.”

      Their audiences ate the imbeciles , mean IQ 79, and they cannot sort out the head or the tail. So, the politicians , monks, priests and the pests have a field day.

  • 34
    4

    Yes, the Editors of Mawbima and Ceylon Today should render unequivocal apology. Using the brutally murdered victim’s daughter’s photo to score political points to their political masters during an election is unacceptable, unethical and unforgivable. It cannot be just a mistake. This confirms the existence of dangers within the media to the media freedom and media ethics.

    • 15
      1

      Laksiri,
      Decrying against unethical behavior is a good thing but, you can’t expect all media to be ethical during an election. Even though GoRa is the most unsuitable presidential candidate SL ever had, both character wise and qualification wise, for Hiru & Derana, Maubima don’t see that way. Reason: They support each others’ criminal lives. In politics, the motto is: Enemy of my side is my enemy as well!

      The irony is that the economic mess Ra..kse family itself created has become the biggest advantage they have in this election. It is appalling to see some intellectuals still arguing whether to defeat GoRa should be the priority!

    • 5
      2

      Laksiri Fernando; How About Facebook-Cambridge Analytica, have that begun their propaganda. I think Mahesh Senanayake should win. He is untainted. All three others are

    • 4
      6

      It is people like laksiri who should apologise to the whole nation for their traitorous acts. Where was Ms. Wickrematunge during the past 4/5 years? Her political masters tried to score political points during an election! Laksir’s pen works for NGO’s who pay his wages.

    • 2
      1

      Dr Fernando,

      you ve been raising a valid point here. I thank you for that.
      You have always been coughing to Rajaakshes but to come with rational view in this regard is highly commendable. Is that because YOUR buddy DJ has turned his direction?

      Rajaakshes are unethical and worst murderers in the world. This became to me clearer in the Rugby Player’s murder.
      Not only murdered that young man, but also burnt him down to show that it was resulted by a car accident.
      :
      See, how pietyless the Rajaakshes have been.
      But there are masses that would go after the,m. Either people are totally misled or they have that in genetics.

  • 27
    2

    She should take legal action against these two papers asking millions for damages ..

  • 23
    2

    Where is the voice of the editors guild and other media associations? The spineless stance of some of those in the so called free press is pathetic. I dont see a single name from The Sunday Times. Have they also started licking Gota’s boots? This case deals with a murdered journalist and the lack of solidarity from certain groups says a great deal about the brand of servile journalism they practice. Never has there been a greater need for tough mettle journalists like Lasantha Wickrematunge in a land littered with cardboard scribes.

  • 16
    1

    When publications go after a grieving daughter, who ONLY wants justice for the murder of her father, to benefit a dishonest politician, who MAY have been responsible for that murder, it shows it is not a credible source of information, the ugly slant, and prejudice. They should try the brainwashing without involving the children of murder victims.

    • 2
      9

      The grieving daughter is not a baby or a child she is an adult. Children (especially adults) of murder victims, should not try to politicise matters aided and abetted by politicians and NGO’s. Everybody wants justice but false allegations without any proof is no answer.

      • 7
        2

        Lanka

        When a president elected by people says he would not let the authorities to prosecute suspected past and present state officials who have been alleged perpetrator of crime on the basis they are being Ranavirus what chance justice got in a politicised legal environment.

        What Sirisena meant was the Ranavirus will not be prosecuted even if they had raped his wife, daughter, son, mother, mother in law, …………………. just because they are Ranavirus. In other words Ranavirus (possibly Gota too) are being permanently granted impunity from law.

        If they rape you don’t seek recourse.

      • 0
        0

        Your cluelessness and lack of understanding, is embarrassing.

  • 4
    1

    Yes, Kubo, you can have such edited picture when your parent is no more.

  • 2
    0

    Yes, Kubo, you can have such edited picture when your parent is no more. You call these “yellow tabloids ” as News Papers ????????

  • 19
    2

    Ceylon Today is a bias organization like Derana, Hiru, Island, FT etc. These organizations are not mature enough to understand the true meaning of Freedom of the Press. The Election Commission should ban any media that does not follow the EC rules until the Presidential Elections are over. Over to you Election Commission, its time you prove that you are an independent body..

  • 12
    3

    The accused is a candidate in the upcoming election. The improper victory celebration while the case is on appeal is an election campaign violation. The election commission should bring charges on the editors of these two newspapers. The verdict is not final. So this action wrongly polishing the candidate just only for the election purpose.

    • 1
      6

      Mallaiyuran – No one is guilty until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt! Any fool can make allegations. The courts have thrown out the cases because there is no substance or truth in the allegation.

  • 6
    1

    This Paper belongs to Sajith’s and Magala’s best buddy and Ranil’s enemy Tiran Alles.
    Tiran has his feet in both camps. He is a weak dick.

  • 12
    2

    No regard or respect for human life, stinking scoundrels and rascals, supporting and gloating about this cold blooded murder, Sumathipala and Titan Alles, owners of Mawbima and Ceylon Today. No wonder we still have filthy lot like them in the mids of us. These are cesspits news papers and gutter journalism. Even their editors and journalists are very low filthy beings who with their owners have no any good mercy and respect for the deadman who being a fellow journalist who was subjected to this cruel, inhuman and dastardly murder for his work of exposing corruption at the highest places. One thing is sure, the one above is watching all these, and all of them along with their puppets masters would one day dearly pay for all their sins.

  • 10
    2

    Where is the morals,don’t these two editors have sons and daughters!

  • 11
    2

    Sri Lanka has gone to the dogs..

    • 0
      5

      As dogs come to the top!

      • 3
        0

        Yes, in a country like Sri Lanka..with a wonderful history of 2500 years..

  • 4
    4

    Didn’t someone say A single Picture is equivalent to one thousand words..

    • 2
      2

      KASmaalam K.A.Sumanasekera

      I am sorry could you confirm the name of SLPP candidate in the forth coming presidential elections. It appears Mahinda is running for president.

      In case if SLPP poll more than the next party who is going to occupy the president’s residence and sit on the president’s chair? Is it going to be Mahinda or Gota?

      Mahinda appears presidential with his puffy face and Gota looks like a clown laughing at his jokes or laughing at himself. What Gota does not realise is that his retinue (b***s carriers) also laugh at him.

      • 1
        3

        Dear Native,

        All Motherland News ha done is put the progress of this well publicized court case in a pictorial format..

        What are you on about this PM & President Power Division & Structure when it is cast in Iron for all and sundry to see Dr Ranil’s i9 A..

        Despite ,all your fav Candidate’s Fairy Tales to the UNP Dalits, Dr Ranil and his Cabinet have stitched him up well so he will spending more time with the Aryawa visiting those 1125 Temples, which he has promised.’

        Will PM Dr Ranil tick off Mangala Samares’s Allocation for the 1125 Vihares?..That is the 64 Million question as far as I am concerned.

        I am sure that money must be more than enough for the University which the Candidate Nandasena has promised for Thondans in Udu Pussellawa..

        • 2
          1

          KASmaalam K.A.Sumanasekera

          Who is going to be the president and who is going to be his all powerful prime minister if Gota is elected on 16 November 2019? As things stand I won’t be surprised if Mahinda is going to take over both positions and Gota would be happy to run Ministry of White Vans.
          Serial killers, psychopaths and mass murderers could not ever stop their murderous rage. Isn’t it why he continues to mention security of the country an euphemism for his narcissistic trait?

          Why does Dr Gota DSc make frightening noises when he laughs? He reminds me of Dr Hannibal Lecter in the film The Silence of the Lamb.

  • 3
    0

    Folks, if you wish to get a different perspective as to why certain media institutions / vested interest groups / individuals, behave, conduct themselves and act the way they do, you may want to watch this video clip on You Tube, the link to which is provided below:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPIcEX8Kqgw

    You can decide for yourself on your course of action.

    Voters, please be warned and use your franchise wisely!

  • 1
    4

    Display of scribes’ solidarity.

    The question arises is that if the SL society is corrupt to the core, how can journalists be an exception?

    Scribbling for personal gain /in favor of a selected regime?

    What’s wrong in manipulating a photograph if it represents the interests of a considerable segment of population?

    • 4
      0

      What’s wrong? Go figure it out for yourself

  • 2
    11

    Nothing wrong in that caption judging by the bile that is written about other prominent personalities by those same so called journalists. The list of the names and their associated media organisations/employers are clear indicators who these journalists are. Ahimsa is involved in a political game. Therefore she needs to be treated as such.

    • 5
      3

      You are an insensitive and selfish individual with no sense of empathy

  • 1
    1

    Gotha says “during his rule justice will be served equally to all ” but decided to call only the yellow tabloids /fake news , which favor him, for his manifesto inauguration circus and barred a few from entering. What he avoided in telling was “His Justice”.

  • 4
    1

    Until Lasantha’s family gets answers and justice, the murderer/s will forever be haunted by this and other brutal murders that were committed by these killers, who pretend to be good Buddhists.
    Hope the scumbags suffer for the rest of their lives, for the pain and suffering they have inflicted on the victim’s loved ones.

    Shame on the Ceylon Today and Mawbima for being enablers, and who are promoting suspects to be president of this country. They should be boycotted.

    • 2
      0

      Navin, there are 1000’s of families who are still haunted of brutal murders that have happened. So it is no use making an exception on Lasantha’s family gets answers and justice for Lasantha’s murder! Religion (Buddhist, Christian, Muslim) has got nothing to do with murder which happens all over the world.
      Any perpetrator of murder will someday receive their just dues. It is not for you to judge others because when you point one finger at others five will be pointed at you!

      • 3
        1

        Learn to read comments properly, I have said “this and other brutal murders”. This article is mainly about this young lady, therefore one is expected to comment about it. Religion has nothing to do with murder, but pretending to be a devout, and then killing shows the hypocrisy.
        I am entitled like any free human being to voice my opinion., after all the comment section is there for that. There are no fingers pointing at me, because I have never ordered the killing of human beings, or even an animal.
        Therefore your comment is lame.

  • 5
    9

    No need to apologize. Her father was the king of slander, this is the karma. If she has proof GR killed LW, let her present it in the Sri Lankan courts, not to foreigners.

    • 3
      6

      Lester

      ” let her present it in the Sri Lankan courts,”

      Sri Lankan courts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      What is it another den of crooks?

      • 4
        10

        The “evidence” she uses to implicate GR is entirely circumstantial. First she says GR sued the father on numerous occasions. Then she says GR sent people to burn the printing press. She says her father had a notebook with license plate numbers written, but these were destroyed by the CID. She talks about a general cover-up by the CID, but then says the TID suddenly took over the investigation (maybe the CID was not doing very well with covering up?) She says the driver Dias “was abducted, hooded, bundled into a white van, taken to a safe house and threatened with certain death should he ever speak of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s involvement again”. She also points to the BBC interview with GR. At the end she says, “…and he asked me (Dias) who I thought had killed my father. Based purely on Dad’s own predictions and the BBC interview, I told him it must have been Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.” Whether or not GR was behind the murder, this so-called “evidence” would be laughed at in any courtroom.If you are going to accuse someone of murder, strong evidence is needed. Eyewitnesses, phone calls, bank transactions, DNA, etc. The biggest flaw is that Gotabaya had no reason to kill LW after Dec. 2008, since the courts ordered LW to stop writing about him. Why did GR waste all that time threatening LW, win his defamation lawsuit, then kill the bugger?

  • 2
    0

    Lasantha was murdered. To this day the murderers are scott free. The pain and the loss is greatly felt by those who are near and dear to him. Others like us feel the injustice done to the Wickrematunge family. A newspaper does have the freedom to publish a fact with the journalistic flavor it thinks as appropriate. But it must conform to some decency. Clearly Ahimsa is not going to get herself photographed with an enlarged copy of a court decision unfavourable to her. To that extent it is a falsehood. If it is possible to digitally adjust images and publish a photograph then what is the guarantee that a newspaper would not publish a cooked up photograph a person caught red handed committing a crime purportedly caught from a CCTV footage? The victim of that prank will have to undergo the pain for the rest of his or her life. In any case the adjusted photograph published lacks sensitivity and exceeded the bounds of decency.

  • 0
    0

    There is much more to come from “Ceylon Today” and from “Mawbima”.
    If one side wins, both will be honoured for ‘Service to Journalism’.
    If the other side wins, they will just ignore it.
    Who is the real ‘Power’?

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