June14, 2018 (LBO) – On June 12, 2018, 7:39pm Azzam Ameen went live on BBC Sinhala’s Facebook site with his interview of State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe. The State Minister has been caught up in the controversial bond issue which continues to dominate the headlines in Sri Lanka.
The interview showed the power of BBC Sinhala’s social media audience. With almost 1 million likes, many Facebook users received a notification that the Facebook interview had gone live.
The interview has more than: 80,000 views, 4000 comments, 700 shares, and 2000 likes/emoji reactions.
It remains to be seen whether the current negative publicity will affect the State Minister’s, ability to garner preference votes in the next General Election. Sujeewa Senasinghe finished second in the Colombo district with 117,000 preference votes behind only Prime Minster Ranil Wickremesinghe who had a massive 500,000 preference vote total. Finishing 3rd was Dr. Harsha De Silva with 114,000 preferences, while former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, who has also been closely linked to the bond controversy, was 4th with 111,000 preference votes.
Facebook has been under local scrutiny after the racial tensions in Kandy prompted local authorities to ban the site in Sri Lanka for several days. The ban generated significant media attention throughout the world. There was also significant pushback against the ban from the US Ambassador Atul Keshap, local media, and Colombo’s civil society.