For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Tisaranee Gunasekera a fearless columnist who has been a strident Rajapakse critic has been severely edited by the Sunday Leader newspaper – once a bastion for free speech in Sri Lanka.
Tisaranee has today (November 4, 2012)written to both the Sunday Leader’s editor Shakuntala Perera and to its Chairman Lal Wickrematunge and we publish the letter in full below which is self explanatory.
I usually do not read my own articles in print. But since the ownership of the Leader changed hands, I have been doing so, knowing that on some Sunday the new management will move to censor my comments on the Rajapaksas.
That Sunday has come. My column has been altered beyond recognition and all reference to the Rajapaksas have been axed.
As you both know, I have been writing to the Leader without asking or accepting any payment. For me, it has been a labour of love, to use a much used phrase. My only condition was that my articles be published uncensored; and that if changes have to be made, they are done after discussing with me.
That agreement has been broken. Shaku, I understand the constraints under which you operate, but I wish you had the courtesy to keep me informed before you took a pick axe of Rajapaksa provenance to my article!
The only condition under which I will continue to write is if what I write is published sans censoring.
I would be much appreciative if you could let me know, in writing, whether a commitment to our original agreement can continue or not.
I am sending the uncut version together with this letter to several websites. I would hate it if those few who still read the likes of me think that I too have been purchased by the Rajapaksas.
Thanks and regards