June 21, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA) has expressed concern over the sudden removal of Lalith Allahakkoon, as editor of Ceylon Today newspaper which led to a string of resignations by other journalists. SLWJA said at a time when journalists associations, the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka (newspaper owners) and the Editors Guild of Sri Lanka are campaigning to improve the environment for media, editorial independence should also be taken up as an urgent matter. “The SLWJA views the recent incident as a disturbing development in the context of media freedom in Sri Lanka, where the demarcation of the editorial independence and the ownership control has been increasingly blurred,” the journalists’ association said.
“The invasive interferences of newspaper ownership in the editorial independence of newspapers would compromise the very idea of media freedom in the country and we are afraid that this disturbing phenomenon is not confined to the recent events at the Ceylon Today newspaper.”
Following an announcement that Allahakoon had been terminated, deputy editors Wilson Gnanadass and Dharisha Bastians, as well as journalists Rasika Jayakody and Dinidu De Alwis had resigned in protest.