“We appreciate the work of Colombo Telegraph in raising important issues of public interest. Freedom of speech expression and the connected right to information are important for all citizens of this country, and the current interruption of news through Colombo Telegraph is a violation of our rights. Unlawful restrictions on the media by the State or private actors is a matter of serious public concern and must be questioned.” two prominent members of the Friday Forum said today.
Responding to a quarry by Colombo Telegraph Prof. Savitri Goonesekere and Bishop Duleep de Chickera, made above remarks today. We asked individual opinion form selected members of the Friday Forum on the serious conflict of interest arising from Jayantha Dhanapala‘s roles as a non-executive director of Dialog and as a member of the Friday Forum. So far we have only heard from JC Weliamuna, Prof. Savitri Goonesekere and Bishop Duleep de Chickera.
Ten days ago we wrote to them seeking their individual opinion; “As a member of the Friday Forum, and associated with its public statements that are often issued under the signature of Mr. Dhanapala, we would like to know what your personal view is of this serious conflict of interest. We think it is of fundamental public concern, and critical to the credibility of civil society voices both individual and collective, that your views are made known.”
Sending a joint reply, Prof Goonesekere and Bishop Chickera said; “In regard to the issue of conflict of interest raised in your letter, we wish to point out that members of the Friday Forum have diverse professional interests. They engage with the State and the private sector. Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala in his personal capacity can have professional connections with the Company you refer to in your letter. We are confident that he will address issues of Company policy involving the public interest with fairness and personal integrity, respecting legal norms and standards of accountable corporate governance.
“Jayantha Dhanapala has provided wise and timely leadership on issues of public concern, which in our view needs to be affirmed in an environment where such leadership is critically important for our country.”
History of Colombo Telegraph blocking
First -December 26, 2011 – We are blocked but we will not be stopped
Second – May 8, 2012 – Colombo Telegraph Blocked Again
Fourth – August 23, 2013 – Colombo Telegraph Blocked, How To Reach Us Now: Sri Lanka Telecom And Mobitel Joins The DPI Club!