21 August, 2019

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Will Gota’s Probable Presidency Shake-Up Media For The Better?

By Amrit Muttukumaru

Amrit Muttukumaru

If the US accedes to Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s application to revoke his American citizenship and he is eligible to be a presidential candidate and his brother former president Mahinda Rajapaksa throws his FULL WEIGHT behind him, the most likely outcome will be that Gotabaya Rajapaksa will be the next President of Sri Lanka. Despite the misguided prognostications of some ‘experts’, the presidency continues to wield substantial executive power notwithstanding the highly controversial 19th Amendment with questionable legality. This is particularly so in the context of a strong and charismatic individual holding office.

The focus of this article as the title suggests is the impact of GR’s likely presidency on the media scene in Sri Lanka and not on whether he will be a PROXY of the US or his presidency will be beneficial to the country. On the question of being or not a US proxy, I invite the attention of readers to my article Presidential Stakes: Is Gota US Proxy & Sirisena China Proxy?published on 22 May 2019 in the ‘Colombo Telegraph’.  This article was of no interest to any of the mainstream English print media – ‘Daily Mirror’, ‘Daily FT’ ‘The Island’ and ‘Ceylon Today’. 

The Colombo Telegraph article of 5 August 2019 The Gota-Ranil Pact: Revealedif factual throws further light on this issue. It is a no-brainer that Ranil Wickremesinghe widely perceived to be a US Proxy who cannot deliver what the US wants will be a perfect fit as opposition leader under a GR presidency.

Fear of WNL

It is widely perceived that Wijeya Newspapers Limited (WNL) has a stranglehold on the print media of this country – ‘Irida Lankadeepa’, ‘Lankadeepa’ (Daily), ‘Sunday Times’, ‘Daily Mirror’ and now ‘Tamil Mirror’. It is believed that sections of the political establishment and even sections of the media are averse to getting on the wrong side of WNL and its owner Ranjit Wijewardene who was inaugural Chairman of the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) under which falls the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL). Strong evidence of WNL arrogance, conflict of interest and wrongdoing will also not engage the attention of this article. 

Examples of even the media being averse to antagonizing WNL include:

1) The appointment of Ranjit Wijewardene’s son Ruwan Wijewardene – State Minister of Defence also as Minister of Mass Media did not draw even a whimper of a protest from either the state or other sections of the private media although Ruwan will have access to information from competing media entities which include state controlled ‘Lake House’.

2) While President Sirisena as Minister of Defence and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe were rightly castigated in parliament and by the media for their incredulous denial of being aware of intelligence reports leading to the Easter Sunday carnage, Ruwan Wijewardene – State Minister of Defence was treated with kid gloves for the very same denial.   

3) Although a case was filed in the Court of Appeal to annul PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s  parliamentary membership citing  Article 91(1)(e) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka on the basis that Wickremesinghe is the “ninth largest shareholder” of Lake House Printers & Publishers PLC, the parties concerned have glaringly overlooked the fact that Ruwan Wijewardene is not only a major shareholder but also was ‘Executive Director’ of the very same Lake House Printers & Publishers PLC at the time of the 17 August 2015 General Election.

Media Shake-Up

A Gotabaya presidency whatever its other implications good or bad will most likely dilute the stranglehold WNL has on the print media of this country. It is widely perceived that the owners of Liberty Publishers (Private) Limited, publishers of Aruna (Sinhala Daily) / The Sunday Morning (English) and Ceylon Newspapers (Private) Limited, publishers of Mawbima (Sinhala Daily) / ‘Ceylon Today’ (English Daily) are close associates of Gotabaya Rajapaksa and will flourish under a GR presidency. Although state patronage in any form has to be frowned upon, this is the ground reality in this ‘land like no other’. To the extent that it will break the domination of WNL and bring about some degree of competition it is salutary. 

The same by and large applies to the Television media vis-à-vis Ada Derana, Sirasa, Hiru and other players. 

This writer wishes to flag that businessmen owning media institutions is fraught with danger to the country. As we witness even today, media houses steer clear of alleged wrongdoing by competing businessmen owning media houses. 

Conclusion

The reluctance to make public the citizenship renunciation certificate which Gotabaya Rajapaksa has asserted is in his possession tells its own story. Is the US taking him to the BRINK to extract what it is seeking?

In the event GR is a presidential candidate and in the likelihood of his winning the presidency, it will be the first time at least in Sri Lanka for a person renouncing his citizenship and subsequently regaining it being elected as the head of state and government. Whether such an eventuality portends well for the country is another matter. 

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Latest comments

  • 13
    8

    The biggest media manipulator in the country is the shameless Killi Maharajah . He has politicians from all sides in his pockets, and a panel of amoral “journalists” such as Faraz. Many of the real journalists have left in disgust.
    Mr. M has only a passing mention of this but goes on a diatribe against the Wijeya group. At least the Wijeya publications , from the Daily FT to the Lankadeepa, seem to have widely divergent positions, unlike Sirasa and it’s clones.

    • 6
      4

      Old codger

      “At least the Wijeya publications , from the Daily FT to the Lankadeepa, seem to have widely divergent positions, unlike Sirasa and it’s clones.”

      Yes Wijeya publications do.
      It reminds me of what Henry Ford once said, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”.

      Well you know what I mean.

      • 3
        13

        “Will Gota’s Probable Presidency Shake-Up Media For The Better?”

        What for the talking Mr Amrit Muttukumaru?

        The best persons to ask this question is from Lasnatha Wickramatunga and Eknaligoda, No?

        Alas ……. one has left the stage and the other is living in France!

        Did the thought ever cross your mind Amrit before you attempt to make a silk purse out of Gota’s sow’s ear?

        Ah! what people wouldn’t do for money, power and positions.

        • 9
          2

          Nimal Fernando

          “Did the thought ever cross your mind Amrit before you attempt to make a silk purse out of Gota’s sow’s ear?”

          xxxxxxxxxxxx

          1) Please do not take things out of CONTEXT

          2) “A Gotabaya presidency whatever its other implications good or bad will most likely dilute the stranglehold WNL has on the print media of this country.”

          3) “The reluctance to make public the citizenship renunciation certificate which Gotabaya Rajapaksa has asserted is in his possession tells its own story. Is the US taking him to the BRINK to extract what it is seeking?”

          Amrit Muttukumaru

          • 2
            7

            So the biggest culprit is WNL?

            My exact thoughts! I’m with you on this one Amrit ……. we should white-van and bump-off a few WNL journos or beat them to a pulp and let Mahinda call Gota to release them …….. no one needs to be trained anew ……. they have all the experience for the job.


            Is WNL showing some independence; not towing Mahinda/Gota line? :)) ……. How dare they!

            All other media is hunky-dory, eh?


            “citizenship renunciation certificate which Gotabaya Rajapaksa has asserted is in his possession”

            What if Gota’s “Certificate” is just a “corrected” version of the Dilith’s (or someone) bungling first one?

            Did the thought ever cross ye mind that Gota is trying to hand in a bogus “certificate” to hoodwink the Lankan authorities? If Gots got Karuna into Britain with a false passport ……. how easy would it be to hoodwink Lankans?

            They have already hoodwinked you! Then again your are a Lankan!

            Pray tell me did you have a “position” under the last Rajapakse government? ……… Or are you speaking out of your pure love for the country?


            off-topic: There was a Muttukumaru who was a doctor and later went and became a dentist ……. a relative?

            • 3
              1

              Nimal,
              I rather think that we over-estimate the power of the media to sway voters.
              Remember that Mrs B lost in 1977 even with all media in her hands. Also, she won in 1970 even with the private Lake House against her.
              And of course Mahinda lost in spite of a deluge of life-sized posters on every lamp-post.

              • 1
                1

                “And of course Mahinda lost in spite of a deluge of life-sized posters on every lamp-post.”

                OC,

                I don’t know if it’s the media that created it ………. but how did Mahinda end-up getting a larger-than-life image? ……… How people are led to believe that he can walk on water?

                If it’s the “war-win” ……. then why not Fonseka? …….. How is that Mahinda gets all the credit and Fonseka is discarded?


                Look at what Trump is doing ……. selling outright lies and getting grown adults to believe in them.

                Would they be able to do that without the media?

                How people’s minds/thoughts are influenced is not a thing we still have a full grasp on.


                It goes back to the idea of existence itself …….. does something exist if no one knows about it? (More about that later …… when I have a little more time. :)) )

    • 6
      0

      OC
      I would rather say that the Maharaja establishment totally lacks subtlety, even worse than Island-Divayina.
      When commercial viability of a medium depends on advertisement revenue, cartels can monopolize media.
      How many are aware that the two leading Tamil dailies Veerakesari and Thinakkural have the same owner for the past several years?

      • 4
        0

        SJ,
        Subtlety is not their strong point, yes. Otherwise why would they indulge in blatant self-promotion aka Gammedda? Not to speak of their vendettas against particular people. Then there was the sudden U-turn on the Port City issue.

  • 9
    0

    I intend voting for Ali Baba. There will only be forty thieves.

    • 0
      3

      Forty is the number of Ali Baba’s enemies.
      Nobody told us about his friends.

  • 9
    0

    Friend, it’s my foot. All Wajiya group’s, and all other news papers, TV and radio stations of Sri Lanka are utter shits, and from the gutters. No quality at all, their journalists too are utter shits, and from the cesspits, and always with negativity, and never ever inspire the people to have and look for better lives. From the look and feel of our media, one could say what sort of country we live in. Africa too raising and doing better by the day but we are going deeper into shit hole owing to the shit media of the country.

  • 3
    1

    Yes, it’s good, if this guy come to power. Those media outlets and journalists who forgot the past would learn bitter lessons. When they cross his paths, he and his goons would destroy the media outlets, and eliminate the journalists for good. This not going to be new thing but all happened in the past under their watch.

  • 2
    0

    Will Gota’s probable Presidency shake up the Media for the better? Only one way to find out!

    • 4
      0

      Look for another Somarama!

  • 9
    0

    Sirasa and Killi Maharajah is not worth a dog shit such low caliber media mafia company

    • 3
      0

      But dog shit is what we have for news these days,

  • 4
    1

    “…his American citizenship and he is eligible to be a presidential candidate and…”.

    If his American citizenship is revoked, GR is a stateless person. If he is given preferential treatment by RW to fabricate files, then there could be case against RW for paddling soft on immigration issues concerning GR and WW’s wife. RW will have to come to his senses that GOSL is not his private property. He has allowed RK to siphon off over 300M to service election propaganda. The Alibaba RK is doing all the dirty work for RW and his conspiracies.

    As far as GR is concerned, He is a war criminal, murderer, swindler and have committed crimes against the state and humanity. If anyone promoting him, he too is implicated in the crimes committed. Justice will somehow catch up. It may take some time. In 1983, the UNP had a fiesta killing innocent Tamils.Since 1994, people rejected them. In 2015 MR was rejected. RW or SP are not innocent. They dont deserve to be leaders. What have they done for the past so many years? People will have to decide against electing GR or any other present politicians as they are impotent and ruined the economy of SL. Vote for a fresher and mold him to respect the feelings of the citizens. dont fall for propaganda’s and dentures.

  • 0
    1

    Writer is completely wrong considering Sri Lanka,s voting statistics. 69 percent of votes are Singhala Buddhist. Rest of the 31 percent are minority Tamil, Muslim and Catholics votes.If Sajith contest, he would need only 36.5 Buddhist votes to win assuming more than 80 percent of minority votes invariably vote against GOTA. Even after war victory in 2009 Mahinda could obtain around 60 to 66 percent votes maximally from Singhala eldoctorates except Karandeniya which was 71 percent. Now Mahinda,s popularity has come down. MAHINDA is not in power also. After 52 day coup attempt also saved my affected his popularity. How can GOTA win if he obtain 60 percent Singhala votes? Gota has bad track record against white van, mig deal, Lasantha case etc.If Ranil or Karu contest only GOTA can win. If Sajith contest he will come with his father,s vote bank plus low income people,s vote immaterial of party. Sajith will be a one horse race. Gota has no chance.

    • 0
      0

      Dear Namal,
      .
      Do you realise how much you are insulting “the minorities” by stating that “80 per cent of minority votes invariably vote against GOTA”? It is possible that I will give Sajith a vote – a SECOND Preference. Sajith has a problem explaining his London School of Economics BSc or whatever.
      .
      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aegrotat
      .
      Sajith must explain this word to us: “ aegrotat.
      .
      I grant that he is quite articulate, despite that. He’s not a Gota-like thug, but it’s a bad start to have this sword hanging over his head. Maryland University is no better. Meeting John Kerry and John McCain is hardly a qualification – the problem being that they are touted as qualifications.
      .
      Forget not also that with guys like me having decided to give FIRST Preference to Naganda Kodituwakku it may well be that nobody gets 50% of total votes polled.
      .
      Have you ever given any consideration to what the Elections Commission would then have to do? . Response solicited!

      • 0
        4

        Sinhala_Man, you arent alone in voting for Nagananda Kodituwakku. Many, blessed with an iota of brain, are coming round to look at him very positively.

        Nagananda has not an iota of deceit or deception in him, be it his qualifications or in what he intends to do. Yet the media mafia black him out purposely. Shame on them all.

        The media need not scour the country looking for those destroying this country. Each of them can look in the mirror and then they will see the naked truth.

  • 0
    1

    Sri Laka requires a terminator to terminate all social ills, ailments, evils and that is the heart eat of the Sri Lankan masses.
    The process shall start by hanging all inmates sentenced to death by law courts in Sri Lanka, upholding death sentence, arresting and taking legal action to set of daylight robbers involved in Bond Scam appeared to be led by Minister in charge and the elevan individuals involved in drug peddling in this country.

  • 0
    0

    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

  • 0
    5

    It will not shake up the media Sirasa and Derana have been missed by your radar

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