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Lifetime Achievement Awards at Journalism Awards for Excellence 2019 & 2020

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The 19th and 20th Editions of the Journalism Awards for Excellence programme will culminate with the presentation of Awards on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at the ‘Blue’, Colombo Hilton Hotel.

The annual Awards Night for the years 2020 and 2021 had to be postponed due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. Over fifty awards and merit certificates will be given out for the two years at next week’s presentations under restricted conditions and health protocols. An independent panel of judges comprising media practitioners and academics picked the recipients from a total of 18 dailies and 18 weeklies in the three language streams – Sinhala, Tamil and English.

The event which was launched in 1999 by The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka (TEGOSL) is now organized by The Guild in partnership with the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI). This year’s event is held under the auspices of the SLPI’s Press Club with the Colombo Hilton as the host hotel.

The aim of the programme is to recognize professionalism in the print media and reward excellence over a particular year. In recent years, awards are also given for web journalists from recognized websites. The Guild also presents awards for Lifetime Achievements and those defending press freedom.

The five recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards for 2019 & 2020 are:

1. Mr. Upali Fonseka

2. Mr. D. P. Wickramasinghe

3. Mrs. Pushpa Rowel

4. Mr. V. Thevaraj

5. Mr. S. C. Weerasinghe

NOTE TO EDITORS:

Please see attached the profiles of the five recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award:

Upali Fonseka

Upali Fonseka is senior photographer with the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon (Lake House). He started his career with Lake House in 1973 as a freelance photographer on the Central News Bureau. In 1977, he was confirmed and worked for the Tharunee and later on the Sarasaviya newspaper. He was promoted as Deputy Pictures Editor in 1995 and rose to be Associate Editor (Pictures) in 2000. He retired in 2010. He is an old boy of St. Lucia’s School, Kotahena.

**

D. P. Wickramasinghe

D. P. Wickramasinghe, serves at the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon (Lake House). Known to his colleagues as ‘Wicky’, he joined Independent Newspapers Ltd., as a translator and worked on the Sun newspaper in the late 1960’s.Following its closure in 1974, he joined the UNP Publications Unit and it was there that he came into contact with Mr. Esmond Wickremesinghe, former Managing Director at Lake House. He did some translations for Mr. Wickremesinghe and after the August 1977 General Elections, he joined the Daily News as a translator. He has worked under 14 Editors starting with Mr. E. D. Wettasinghe. He was promoted Assistant News Editor in 2000 and later Deputy Provincial News Editor until his retirement in 2007. He studied at Richmond College, Galle and entered the University as an External Student before graduating with a BCom. He is a Justice of the Peace.

**

Pushpa Rowel

Pushpa Rowel has 42-years’ service with the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (Lake House). She started her career in journalism in 1977 at the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited in the Central News Bureau. In 1979, she joined the Dinamina as a Sub Editor. She rose to the post of Deputy Chief Sub Editor, Chief Sub Editor, Associate Editor and finally in 2015 she was appointed Editor of Dinamina. She retired on December 31, 2019. She studied at Presbyterian Girls’ School in Colombo and completed her studies at Stafford Ladies College, Colombo. She passed out from Kelaniya University with a BA in 1972. She was the recipient of the Lifetime Award given by the Catholic Writers’ Association in 2018.

**

Vadivel Thevaraj

Vadivel Thevaraj, Director/Editor-in-Chief of Voice of World Media Network (Pvt) Ltd since 2019 and Chairman, Human Voice International since 2015, was Editor of Virakesari Weekly from 2005 to 2012. Prior to becoming Editor he served as Associate Editor on several publications of Express Newspapers. He started his journalistic career in 1987 in Virakesari and left in 2015 after 28-years. His early education was at Saraswathy M. V., Badulla from where he moved to Kandegedera M. V., Kandegedera and completed his secondary education at the Tamil Mixed School, Narangalla. He has attended several local and international workshops and seminars as a participant and as a resource person presenting papers. He has also written extensively on the Upcountry Tamils, Indian Tamils, Trade Unions, Tea Estates and the Caste system. He is also Guest Lecturer of the University of Jaffna and the Eastern University in Mass Communication. He has a MA from Mysore University, Karnataka, India, a Post Graduate Diploma in International Affairs from BCIS, and a BA in Modern History from the University of Jaffna.

**

S. C. Weerasinghe (Posthumous)

Saman Chandranath Weerasinghe is a veteran journalist who passed away recently leaving an indelible imprint in journalism. He was a hugely respected journalist whose work ranged from news and feature writing to the art of writing lyrics that he went on to specialize in. He was a remarkably talented and a versatile journalist who possessed a vast knowledge on many subjects and built his own identity in the field. As a lyricist he has composed more than 1500 songs. He started his career as a journalist with the Lankadeepa. Later, he held a number of positions in the Dinamina. He was the Consultant Editor of Dinamina at the time of his retirement. The late Weerasinghe is the son of late Lankadeepa Editor Wimal Weerasinghe and the brother of journalist and creative writer Bharathi Weerasinghe.



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BASL urges President to de-escalate tensions in different parts of country

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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to instruct the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of tensions in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by the public.”

 “Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint”, the BASL has said in a media statement.

 “We also call upon you to ensure that steps are taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.”

The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police.

 The armed forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

Full text of the BASL letter to the President:

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expresses its gravest concerns at the current situation at fuel stations throughout the country and the reports of several incidents of conflicts between civilians and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations. There has been video footage of civilians being assaulted by personnel of the armed forces and the police, the latest being of a civilian being kicked by an Army officer at a fuel station. There have also been situations of the police and Army opening fire into the air to contain the crowd.

Your Excellency is no doubt aware that thousands of desperate civilians are waiting in queues at hundreds of fuel stations in the country. The queues are kilometres long. The tension at the fuel stations have arisen from this desperation for which there is no immediate solution in sight.

The BASL wishes to warn Your Excellency of the imminent dangers this situation could give rise to. The present unrest could result in a conflagration between civilians and members of the armed forces or the police. Some years ago, confrontations between members of the public and the armed forces resulted in the deaths of civilians. Such incidents between the members of the armed forces or the police and the civilians will discredit Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the police.

We call upon Your Excellency to take all necessary steps to give instructions to the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of the situation in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by public. Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint. We also call upon you to ensure that steps be taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.

The Sri Lanka Army and other service personnel must be deployed only in very limited circumstances as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code. The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police. The Armed Forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

We trust that this will receive the immediate attention of the Government as to do otherwise may otherwise result in unprecedented turmoil and harm.

The BASL believes that the ultimate solution to the situation at fuel stations is to be transparent with the public and to ensure an equitable and effective system of fuel distribution throughout the country.

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SC orders AG to submit report on fuel purchases and distribution

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By A.J.A. Abeynayake

A three-member Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena and Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on fuel purchases, the distribution thereof and the sectors to be provided with fuel on a priority basis.

The Supreme Court made the order after considering two fundamental rights petitions presented by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The BASL has requested the Supreme Court to direct the Cabinet of Ministers to consult all stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement the necessary policies, and to provide concessions in relation to the prices of essential goods and services to the people including LP gas, fuel, electricity, milk powder, medicines and food.

The petitions were filed by the President of the BASL Saliya Pieris PC, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC, former Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya, Treasurer Rajindh Perera and the Assistant Secretary Pasindu Silva.

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A/L may be delayed by one month

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Education Minister Sushil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that although it had been scheduled to hold the G.C.E. A/L Examination 2022 in November this year, it could be further delayed by another month.

Responding to a question by MP Shantha Bandara, the Minister said: “The examination should be held at least after three months of releasing the results of the previous A/L exam because the students who need to sit it again should have enough time to prepare,” the Minister said.

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