For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
By Ishtartha Wellaboda
Ratnapura District United National Party Parliamentarian and popular film star Ranjan Ramanayake denied allegations leveled against him by the Derana TV talk show host Dilka Samanmali. Stating that all that he gave Dilka’s father was a courtesy call, Ramanayake said that he did give a call to Dilka Samanmali’s father living in Australia and complained that his daughter was being biased in her show.
The MP, however, said he did not say any thing threatening to the talk show host’s parents. “My comments were purely friendly but they were critical. What I said was in her best interest”.
Ramanayake said he felt that Dilka was targeting the personal lives of the guests on her show too much and that his views were brought up during his conversation with Dilka’s father.
Meanwhile, Dilka Samanmali admitted that Ramanayake and her father were old friends and that she gave him her father’s number when he requested it via text message after they recorded the episode of her show that was telecasted on August 23.
Samanmali alleged that Ramanayake had called her father overseas and had allegedly threatened to end her media career.
“He had said that I had many enemies in the media field and that he would use all that influence to end my career” Samanmali further alleged.
According to Derana TV news director Shehan Baranage, threats were made against Dilka Samanmali based on the question she asked Ramanayake regarding a school teacher who allegedly loaned money to him. Derana news also followed the story by featuring the principal of the school on their evening news bulletin.
The talk show host filed a complaint against Ramanayake at the Bamabalapitiya police which has now been referred to the Criminal Investigations Department.
Meanwhile, the Free Media Movement stated that they are not yet ready to pass their judgment on the matter.
FMM Secretary Sunil Jayasekara said that they were still investigating the issues surrounding the allegations against Ranjan Ramanayake.
“If Ramanayake had directly threatened the journalist we would have been able to take swift action regarding the matter. Since the call was given to Dilka’s father living abroad there are some matters we need to investigate further”, Jayasekara said.
“I must stress that these investigations are not being delayed because of Ranjan’s popularity. Regardless of who the person is and what their political affiliations are, we will never justify threatening a media personal”, he added.
Jayasekara said the FFM would issue their official statement on the matter next week.