Senior journalist Dilrukshi Handunetti who until recently served as senior assistant editor of Tiran Alles’ Ceylon Today newspaper has resigned in protest of the company’s editorial policies and censorship Colombo Telegraph can now reveal.
Ms Handunetti who was overlooked recently by the management for the editorship of the newspaper has complained that censorship had become severe at the Ceylon Today in recent times.
During her absence from the country Handunetti’s junior Jayantha Nissanka who was the paper deputy editor was appointed Editor of Ceylon Today after Hana Ibrahim the previous editor was ‘kicked upstairs’ as Editor in Chief and no longer controls the newspaper editorial policy.
Interestingly Ms Handunetti was instrumental in writing a editorial accusing former Ceylon Today Editor in Chief Lalith Alahakone of fabricating stories about his sacking by Alles in a two page article that attempted to destroy the credibility of at least five other reporters who also left the paper in protest of Alahakone’s treatment. Despite Ibrahim announcing to the Ceylon Today editorial that the Alles Management had let Alahakone go four days later her own editorial claimed that the senior editor had in fact not been sacked.
Handunetti was re recruited by Chairman Alles after Lalith Alahakone’s sacking after Ibrahim convinced the politician and businessman that Handunetti had been unable to work for the senior editor since he was discriminating against her.
Together with Ibrahim as Colombo Telegraph has extensively written Handunetti spearheaded the campaign to prevent media activist groups from reacting or condemning Alahakone’s treatment by Alles two years ago a clear case of hindering a chief editor’s editorial independence.
Handunetti was awarded Journalist of the Year at the Editors Guild awards for her reporting in Ceylon Today last year.