“When a new editor took over at the Sunday Leader after Frederica Jansz was fired and I was invited in November 2012 to write a weekly column, I imposed the condition that I be allowed to “have a free hand to be critical (I am concerned about issues raised by Frederica).” The editor responded “Yes, you will have the freedom. I am aware of the readership of the Leader what we need to cater to.”
I went along when anything I wrote about Gotabaya was cut because I was told that there was a court order. But this week my reference to Frederica Jansz’s Al Jazeera interview and her Sunday Leader story in 2011 about China giving Rajapaksa US $9 mn without restrictions was cut. There surely is no court order about it.
I do not wish to stir things up because I see the editorial team at the The Sunday Leader trying to cater to their readership while trying to find the boundaries of what they are allowed to say. It would seem that they have little room to manoeuvre. At this point I still remain sympathetic to what they are trying to achieve as they try to figure out what the limits of their freedom are. The fact however is that while there is room to comment on the policies of the government, there is really no freedom to comment on the first family’s numerous personal shenanigans and the terrible things they are doing to the country and to us.
The value of writing under these constraints, projecting an image of press freedom where it is highly restricted, is something that both the editors of the Sunday Leader and I need to assess.
Read the uncensored article here