FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SRI LANKA

For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

Resigned journalists accuse Ceylon Today

The four journalists, who have resigned from ‘Ceylon Today’ in protest against the sacking of their editor Lalith Alahakoon, say in their resignation letter that they believe, “wholeheartedly and disapprovingly, that the persecution and harassment that he (the editor) had to face was a result of not catering to a partisan agenda that was, at some stages, expected of him by the management.”

Colombo Telegraph has published the joint resignation letter sent by deputy editors Wilson Gnanadas, Darisha Bastians, news editor Rasika Jayakody and journalist Dinindu de Alwis, to Tiran Alles, DNA MP and owner of the newspaper.

They say, “When we started nearly ten months ago, some of us were attracted with the notion of being able to work alongside journalists in a professional, ethical and responsible media environment.”

“Ten months down the line, the dynamics have shifted, and the biggest threats to us, and the biggest threats to our integrity and independence come not from without the organisation, but from within.”

Their resignation letter reads,

The Chairman,
Ceylon News Papers,
#101, Rosmead Place, Colombo 7.

Dear Tiran Alles,

When we started nearly ten months ago, some of us were attracted with the notion of being able to work alongside journalists in a professional, ethical and responsible media environment.

Ten months down the line, the dynamics have shifted, and the biggest threats to us, and the biggest threats to our integrity and independence come not from without the organisation, but from within.

It is also extremely disturbing, the persecution of our Editor-in-Chief Lalith Allahakkoon and our journalists that has arisen, based on false assumptions of political and ideological affiliations and allegiances; it is alarming, to a greater extent, that these persecutions and allegations stem from the highest echelons of the management, being you.

Siding with the concepts of justice, democracy and dignity of life for all people in the country, and being liberal and progressive in thinking, does not constitute a wrongdoing – yet these are the wrongdoings that you have accused our desk – and especially Lalith – of.

We believe that we have, as a news desk, engaged in unbiased reportage and non-partisan commentary. We believe that the leadership for the desk was provided by Lalith, and we completely and wholly back his editorial positions during the period. We also believe, wholeheartedly and disapprovingly, that the persecution and harassment that he had to face was a result of not catering to a partisan agenda that was, at some stages, expected of him by the management.

It is in this light that we have decided that we do not wish to work in an environment and under a management that does not take care of its own. The decision was voluntary, the decision was without malice, and the decision was without hesitation – but it was one that we were compelled to make considering the circumstances.

Please accept my resignation effective immediately, along with those of my colleagues.

Thanking you,

Wilson Gnanadass  – Deputy Editor
Dharisha Bastians  – Deputy Editor
Rasika Jayakody  – Journalist
Dinidu De Alwis – Journalist
SLM

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This entry was posted on June 16, 2012 by in news and tagged , , , .
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