The Editors Guild of Sri Lanka (TEGOSL) strongly condemned a move by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to summon and record statements from three senior newspaper editors and several
journalists regarding the complaint lodged by Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena against former director of the Consumer Affairs Authority Thushan Gunawardena related to the Sathosa garlic scam.
In a statement signed by its Secretary, Sisira Paranathanthri, TEGOSL has questioned the right of the CID to pursue journalists including editors who reported certain incidents in the country by viewing what was believed to be an accurate report of an offence in a civilized society.
The statement said: “Instead of shamelessly hounding the media which exposed the scam, the CID should have questioned the parties directly accused by the minister and brought them before the law
after conducting proper investigations.
“We would like to question whether the CID, despite its professional responsibility, decided to summon the President of The Editors Guild of Sri Lanka, who is also the Chief Editor of the Lankadeepa, Siri
Ranasinghe, and its members, the Editor of Divaina, Anura Solomons, and the Editor of The Island,
Prabath Sahabandu, as though they were connected to the scam.
“The letter dated 28.09.2021 sent by the CID to the Lankadeepa Editor says that the Trade Minister has lodged a complaint claiming that he had been defamed and insulted by the print and electronic media publishing hateful statements by Thushan Gunawardena.
“It is shocking that Bandula Gunawardena, who sat as a minister in Parliament in 2002 was not aware that Parliament unanimously voted to repeal the criminal defamation laws in the same year. Under
what legal provision did the CID attempt to obtain statements from Lankadeepa Editor Ranasinghe
and other journalists at the Lankadeepa office on Sept 28.
“We once again denounce the shameless and ridiculous act of the CID hounding editors and journalists instead of dealing with the parties directly involved in the scam according to the law in a context
where the criminal defamation laws have been repealed in Sri Lanka. This is a huge threat and a danger on the freedom of media.”
Two-year reconciliation project spurns Lord Naseby’s disclosure
EU, Germany funded scheme costs Rs. 8 mn
By Shamindra Ferdinando
The National Peace Council (NPC) says war-related matters hadn’t been discussed at the nearly two-year-long reconciliation project that brought together students from Eastern, Jaffna, Ruhuna and Sabaragamuwa Universities.
More than 160 students have participated in the project that culminated with a conference on the theme of ‘Plural Sri Lanka: Paths to reconciliation.’ Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris delivered the closing address and responded to questions from the audience.
Pointing out that post-war reconciliation efforts had been badly hampered by allegations that the Sri Lankan military killed over 40,000 civilians on the Vanni east front, The Island sought clarification as regards measures taken by the NPC to improve relations among the communities, and the following questions were raised:
During your two-year long project did participants discuss specific war crimes allegations and disclosure made in the House of Lords in Oct 2017 that contradicted unsubstantiated accusations pertaining to 40,000 civilian deaths.
Executive Director NPC Dr. Jehan Perera:
“No, we did not discuss these war-related matters. The project was titled “Creative Youth Engagement for Pluralism” and it focused on the nature of Sri Lanka as a plural society and the value framework that should guide it. The research papers highlighted the diversity within Sri Lankan society that goes beyond ethnicity and religion. They included topics such as “Attitudes of Society on Education and Transsexuality: A Comparative Study on the Ideologies of a Community with Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Education,” and “Pluralism and University Subculture: An Ethnological Study on Young Behavior towards Social Cohesion,” and “An Investigative Study of the Challenges Posed by the Changes in the Aboriginal Society.”
What is the total cost of the project?
: Rs 8 million was spent to train and mentor the writers of the 30 research publications in four universities, translate, review and publish their findings in book form and for the conference which brought the students to Colombo.
What is the GoSL’s contribution?
There was no direct financial support by the government. Four state universities supported through their faculty members and students.
The Island: What is the NPC’s stand on accountability resolution and announcement made in Geneva that the Sri Lankan military would be subjected to a fresh inquiry?
In order to get out of these allegations, there is a need for a credible and independent investigation. Our preference is for a national mechanism that is acceptable to all sides. Accountability will need to be a part of the reconciliation process. NPC favours the restorative justice approach which focuses on ensuring justice to victims. This includes an acknowledgement of wrongs done and reparations and institutional reform to ensure that there is non-recurrence.
The Island: Are you also engaged in post-war reconciliation projects funded by Norway?
NPC hasn’t obtained funds from Norway for the past five years.
The recently concluded project has been funded by a project called Strengthening Reconciliation Process here jointly funded by the European Union and the German Federal Foreign Office and implemented by Deutsche Gesellsschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the British Council in partnership with the Sri Lankan Government.
Speaker promises to appoint bi-partisan committee to look into incidents in Parliament
Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced in Parliament yesterday (06) that a committee consisting of senior members from the Government and Opposition would be appointed within the week to look into the incidents that took place in Parliament last Friday and Saturday and submit a report.
High Court Trial-at-Bar orders release of several accused from 11 charges in CB bond auction case
By AJA Abeynayake
Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar yesterday ordered the release of several accused, including former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke and former Central Bank former Governor Arjuna Mahendra, from 11 charges out of 22 in connection with the Central Bank bond auction held on 31 March, 2016.
Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar held that public property charges against the accused could not be maintained. Indictments had been filed against Perpetual Treasuries Private Ltd (PTL), former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke, CBSL former Governor Arjuna Mahendran, Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) beneficiary owner Arjun Aloysius, PTL Chief dealer Kasun Palisena, Chairman of PTL Jeffrey Joseph Aloysius, Chitta Ranjan Hulugalle, Muthuraja Surendran, Ajahn Gardiye Punchihewa and Badugoda Hewa Indika Saman Kumara in connection with bond auction held on March 31, 2016.
The case against seventh accused Ranjan Hulugalle was dismissed on preliminary objections raised.
President’s Counsel Anil Silva, Counsel Asela Serasinghe, Hafeel Farisz, Sahan Kulatunga and Vishwaka Peiris appeared for the seventh accused.
The Attorney General’s stance regarding the future cause of action to be informed on 26 Jan. 2022.
The Attorney General had alleged that the PTL had been using the Central Bank’s important undisclosed information to alter the final outcome of the Treasury bond auction and it had a huge impact on the overall national economy as a result of the subtle; the systematic conduct of the offences related to the fraud and had caused injustice to other primary sellers in the bond market, and the PTL had acted cunningly and made a huge profit and conspired to cause a huge loss to the government.
The case was postponed until 26 Jan. 2022.
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