Ruwan Wijewardene sworn in as Sri Lanka’s new Media Minister

New Media Minister Ruwan Wijewardene with former Media Minister and current Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera

February 23, 2019 (LBO) – Ruwan Wijewardene has replaced Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera as Sri Lanka’s Media Minister. Wijewardene is also expected to retain his current portfolio as the State Minister of Defense under President Maithripala Sirisena.

Mangala Samaraweera resigned from his portfolio as Media Minister in order to make way for Wijewardene. The smooth transition is uncharacteristic of other ministerial reshuffles where incumbents have tried to hang on to their positions.

Wijewardene is a popular figure within the UNP who has managed to maintain cordial relationships with his fellow parliamentarians. Due to his seniority in the UNP, it has been expected for some time that he would be promoted within the government. The Gampaha District MP was also recently made Deputy General Secretary of his party.

Ruwan Wijewardene is the grandson of the most notable historic figure in Sri Lanka’s Media, D.R. Wijewardene. D. R. Wijewardene was the founder of Lakehouse, by far Sri Lanka’s most important media group and key player in Sri Lanka’s independence movement. Lakehouse was eventually nationalised by the government headed by the world’s first female Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike. The institution has been controlled by the state ever since.

Other family members of the minister are involved in various media businesses of which the Minister has during his political career had no recognisable involvement or influence.