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SLPI holds its 17th AGM virtually on Zoom web-conference platform



The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) held its 17th Annual General Meeting on October 21 virtually using the Zoom web-conference platform, attended by representatives of its constituent partners – the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka, The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka, the Free Media Movement, the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association and its members.

Presenting the annual report of the institution, Kumar Lopez, Chief Executive Officer of the SLPI, said 2019 had been a successful year with many improvements where they engaged with their main domains; Media Freedom and Journalist Professionalism, Transparency and Accountability, and Peace and Reconciliation.

This included a self-reflection exercise on the self-regulation process of the print media with the objective of strengthening media ethics and professionalizing newspaper reporting practices.

In keeping with the SLPI mandate to nurture an informed public committed to democratic ideals, SLPI has made prominent interventions especially in spreading awareness on Right to Information (RTI) among various strata in society.

The Right to Information help desk which was established to support the newsrooms, and RTI Journalists fora continue to engage and strengthen the use of RTI among journalists.

The CEO also referred to the outreach program with youth on RTI awareness and communication that had produced several success stories from districts across the country.

SLPI has been expanding their presence on the digital front, with increased engagement through social media and dedicated portals such as and for RTI engagements and Peace and reconciliation work via, to cater to a wider and growing audience.

Several projects have been implemented in association with foreign missions such as Norway, United States, and Germany with the organizations like Norwegian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Open Society Foundation (OSF), UNESCO, International Research & Exchange Board (IREX), Media in Transition and Coordination (MiCT), USAID and the IOM.

Lopez further said the Journalism Awards for Excellence, a joint event organized by The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka (TEGOSL) and the SLPI, successfully concluded its 20th edition on December 10, 2019.

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Cardinal: Was there any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?



… stands by his claim of foreign involvement

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that there could be a connection between the outcome of the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks and the enlisting of Muslim MPs’ support for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

The Cardinal said: “The leader of a Muslim political party voted against the 2Oth Amendment. But his MPs voted for it. The brother of Rishad Bathiudeen too was released around the same time. These are questionable developments. These events could be part of a deal.”

The Cardinal reiterated that international forces were behind the Easter Sunday attacks and that he did not believe that there had been any local political group directly involved in the Easter attacks.

Addressing the media yesterday, the Cardinal said that the remarks he made on Sunday had been misunderstood. He stood by his claim that international forces had been behind the attacks, he said.

“However, some people claim that I said a local political group was behind the attack. I have always maintained that there are international forces that use religious and ethnic extremists such as Wahabists to create conflicts. I was referring to such groups.”

The Cardinal added that only a small group of Muslims was involved in extremism.

The Archbishop also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that taking action against extremists like NTJ leader Zahran Hashim would create unnecessary issues.

“Something along these lines is also in the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks. The report also implies that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was lenient in dealing with growing extremism in Sri Lanka.”

The Cardinal urged the government to protect the country and ensure that there would be no repeats of incidents like the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Archbishop of Colombo requested all religious leaders to work on rebuilding trust among all communities.



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AG appeals to Supreme Court against granting of bail to Ravi, others



The Attorney General yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against bail for former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others indicted in the bond case by the Colombo Special High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The eight accused were arrested and remanded over the bond scams. Later, they were released on bail.

The court warned that if the accused attempted to exert influence on the witnesses, by any means, bail would be revoked and they would be placed on remand until the end of the trial.



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26 more coronavirus cases detected in Jaffna Tirunelveli market area



Another 26 COVID-19 cases had been detected on Sunday, from the Tirunelveli Market in Jaffna, which was the epicentre of the recent outbreak in the town, Dr. A. Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday.

The market and its surroundings had been reopened on April 11 following a 19-day lockdown. However, 378 PCR tests were conducted after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and 26 of them proved positive.

Dr. Kethiswaran warned last week that there might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna after the New Year celebrations.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported in Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be lockdown, he warned.

“It’s too early to say whether we have to close the area down. We are monitoring the situation,” DR. Kethiswaran said.

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