Networking for Rights Sri Lanka, a network of Sri Lankan journalists and human rights defenders, expresses its shock and dismay on the sacking of Ceylon Today editor Mr. Lalith Alahakoon. Mr. Alahakoon is a senior journalist who has edited number of English dailies in Sri Lanka.
He was sacked form the Ceylon Today newspaper on 14 June 2012.
Ceylon Today’, published by Ceylon Newspapers owned by opposition parliamentarian and business tycoon Tiran Alles.
He represents the Democratic National Alliance, which is led by defected presidential candidate and former army commander General Sarath Fonseka.
According to reliable reports Mr. Alahakoon has been sacked for not obeying unethical orders from the management, NfR says in a statement.
According to media reports the reason given for Mr. Alahakoon’s removal is that he had refused to publish certain politically biased news stories, published by the sister newspaper ‘Mawbima’, in the English newspaper.
Editorial freedom is an accepted media practice in ethical journalism. Editors have the right to decide on the content of the newspaper without any interference of the management. To fulfil the people’s right to information on which freedom of expression rests, the management and the editorial of any news media needs clearly define separate roles.
The relationship between the two entities should be at ‘hands length’ so that they are protected from each others’ undue influences.
In Sri Lanka today not only the repression by the state but also unethical interferences by the owners/ management impose a debilitating effect on freedom of the press.
Removal of Mr. Lalith Alahakoon from the editorship of the Ceylon and sacking him from the Ceylon Today editorial staff is a severe blow to independence journalism in Sri Lanka.
NfR joins hands with all those who oppose this un- democratic and arbitrary action by the management of the Ceylon News Papers