The anti-Buddhist crusade of Sri Lanka’s media
Posted on December 3rd, 2016

Senaka Weeraratna

The Lake House Newspaper group was established by a well-known Buddhist, D.R. Wijewardena. But recently under government control, it has been hijacked by anti Buddhist forces. The state owned flagship press Lake House acting as the spokesperson for the Government engages in a well-orchestrated campaign against the dominant religio-cultural base of the society. Buddhists are a clear minority on the editorial staff of both the ‘Daily News’ and ‘Sunday Observer’.

The Editor in Chief of the ‘Daily News’ – Lalith Alahakone ( Christian)

The Editor in Chief of the ‘ Sunday Observer’ – Lakshman Gunasekera ( Christian ).

Lakshman Gunasekera was the Editor of the ‘Sunday Observer’ when it published an article by Asif Husain in the Jan. 6/2002 Edition alleging that the Sacred Tooth Relic was a fake made of ivory and implying that a fraud was being committed on the public by the Dalada Maligawa.

Following the publication of this highly offensive article to the Buddhists a large delegation of Bhikkhus and lay persons representing Buddhist organisations lodged a strong and vehement protest in January 2002 with the then Acting Chairman of Lake House, Kumar Abeysinghe, General Manager B. A. Jinadasa and Editors of the newspapers of the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon, at the anti-Buddhistic and anti-national crusade of the English newspapers of Lake House and their unbridled Christianisation.

The delegation expressed anguish and sadness at the deliberate denigration of Buddhism and its most revered and sacred relic venerated here and worldwide.

Though it was stated by the Lake House management that the offending copies were withdrawn from circulation, some copies were found distributed in Ratnapura and Moneragala. In fact, the Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhita Maha Thera who was on the delegation said that he got a copy of this Newspaper from Moneragala.

The delegation further pointed out to the mystery of the article getting into the Internet.

Among the 12 bhikkhus present were: Ven. Dr. Bellanwila Wimalaratane Nayake Thero, and Theros Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha, Ven. Muruttettuwe Ananda, Ven. Kotapola Amarakirthi Nayake Thero, Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Nayake Thero, Ven. Weligamuwe Dhammissara and Hiniyawala Palitha Thero.

Among the lay persons were Noel Wijenaike (President, YMBA), M. M. P. Senaratne (Secretary, Mahabodhi Society), Mrs. Indrani Devendra and Mrs. Clodagh Fernando (ACWBC), Arjuna Amerasekera (Lanka Bauddha Sanrakshana Sabhawa) and Senaka Weeraratna (Secretary, German Dharmaduta Society).

The delegation demanded that the Editor of the Sunday Observer, Lakshman Gunasekera, and all those responsible for the publication of the article including Asif Husain, the writer of the article, be removed from their posts.

The then Chairman of Lake House, Kumar Abeysinghe assured the delegation that an unqualified apology would be published in the following week-end’s Sunday Observer.

He said that the writer of the article Asif Husain had been interdicted and stern action would be taken against all those responsible after the Committee of Inquiry completed its work. Its findings will be made public in a day or two, the acting Chairman said in responding to a query made by Ven. Palitha.

The Ven. Bellanwila Wimalaratane and the Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha emphasised that this article does not appear to be the work of one person, but it was part of a larger conspiracy to denigrate and devalue Buddhism and bring it to public ridicule.

It is unacceptable that Lake House built by a Buddhist pioneer, should be transformed into an anti-Buddhist institution, they said.

A collection of articles denigrating Buddhism was handed over to the acting Chairman.

Senaka Weeraratna  said that this was not an isolated incident. It showed a concerted and consistent  pattern of conduct of the English language newspapers in recent years which pointed to an highly organised campaign to ridicule, mock, bring to disrepute Buddhism, diminish its value and side-track Buddhism related themes in the content of its publications. He drew attention to the Press Commission Report of Mr. K.D.. de Silva ( 1964) which has stated as follows:

” The Press is an instrument which is primarily meant to serve the real interests of a country. It can also be misused. If we were not satisfied that the newspapers of the Lake House and the Times groups were guilty of anti -national and anti – Buddhist conduct on a large scale, we would not have recommended a drastic change in the ownership of the newspapers belonging to these groups. From the evidence placed before us we are satisfied that the existing newspapers did not hesitate to fabricate, suppress, slant or distort news and views whenever it suited them. They have been further guilty of anti — national and anti – Buddhist activities, which are more serious than the earlier mentioned lapses on their part. Indeed, the most vehement critics of the present activities of the Press were the Buddhists and some of their organisations, and we are satisfied that their grievances are genuine and should be removed.

Buddhist leaders have been falsely accused of being intolerant. Their hopes and ambitions receive scant consideration, and the rightful place due to their religion has being denied to it by the newspapers. This has been deliberately done in order to help the minorities, in particular, the Christian minorities, to perpetuate the unjust privileges acquired by them during the last four centuries at the expense of the Buddhist Majority. ”

Paragraph 212, Page 90 Final Report of the Press Commission (1964)

http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2014/05/04/the-press-commission-report-1964-some-extracts-and-a-brief-commentary/

The Sunday Observer of Oct. 21, 2001 ( Editor – Lakshman Gunasekera) had carried a letter by B. F. Perera of the M. R. I. which questioned the authenticity of the Tooth relic and had requested a public debate on the subject, he said. Mr. Perera had said that only fanatical Buddhists worship the Tooth Relic.

Indrani Devendra and Clodagh Fernando said that in the past they found it very difficult to get a Buddhist article published in the Lake House English newspapers. The ACWBC had even gone before the Press Complaints Commission and complained. They said that an article on Marie Museaus Higgins was cut up into five pieces and published in the ‘Daily News’, thereby destroying its impact on the readers.

Arjuna Amerasekera said that the tolerance of the Sinhala Buddhists has been tested to the maximum by Lake House. Before this, the ‘Sunday Observer’ carried a letter which said that the Tooth Relic was that of an animal and not of human origin. He too pointed to a sustained conspiracy against Buddhism.

  1. A. Jinadasa, the General Manager of the Lake House, pointed out that the constitution of the BBC stipulates that the BBC should not challenge or say anything offensive against the British Crown or against Christianity.

In Sri Lanka, in contrast, ‘Buddhism Bashing’ is a favourite pastime of the Christian controlled press.  A content analysis would bring this out very clearly.

Members of the delegation demanded that similar standards imposed on the BBC should be established and observed in Sri Lanka.

Kumar Abeysinghe said that he would immediately meet all Lake House editors and impress on them the seriousness of refraining from defaming or ridiculing any religion.

http://www.island.lk/2002/01/20/

Through a content analysis study by informed researchers following this incident, several ways through which the anti – Buddhist campaign by the media was conducted were identified in the study as follows:

1) ‘Daily News’ and the ‘Sunday Observer’ do not give any prominence on its main pages on anything highlighting the Buddhist revival movement or Sinhalese nationalism.

2) Features on Christianity are given full prominence and even trifling events such as school shows, birth/death anniversaries of saints, and wonder-workers are lavishly displayed with color pictures for emphasis; in contrast, Buddhist articles on Poya Days – are relegated to supplements. Astonishingly, some of these articles are written by nonBuddhists and are full of innuendo that ‘true Buddhism’ is non existent in Sri Lanka e.g. writings of one K.K.S. Perera who consistently ridicule Buddhism and Buddhist festivals e.g. Vesak, and Tradition and Rituals such as the Kathina Pinkama, are regularly published in the Lake House Newspapers, Sunday Times, Daily Mirror etc.

Indeed the last mentioned theme is monotonously interwoven into the regular political columns published in the center – pages of the Daily News  and Sunday Observer. Revered leaders of the Buddhist revival movement in contemporary Sri Lanka are insulted and reviled as ‘extremists ‘ who are a disgrace to ‘true Buddhism’; A strict censorship is in force that makes any patriotic statement by a Sinhala Buddhist or Buddhist organisation unacceptable for publication.

3) On the contrary, any inflammatory message promoting the exaggerated and largely unfounded claims and rights of non-Buddhist minorities is given wide prominence; and the views of Christian and Muslim leaders – representing a mere 7 % and 10% of the population respectively – regularly make the headlines. This unique situation is contrasted with the mainstream press in predominantly Islamic countries where the Government gains power through Muslim votes, would not consistently denigrate Islamic culture, and in the liberal Christian West with a largely wide ranging free press there is no reported instance of the dominant Christian culture being treated with ridicule, scorn and contempt by newspapers.

There is a huge need for the establishment of another Press Commission along the lines of the K.D. de Silva Commission which was set up more than 50 years ( in 1963) by Mrs. Sirima Bandaranaike’s Government to inquire and report on Buddhist grievances, among other things, concerning the manipulation of the media to carry out an anti – Buddhist agenda.

See also

Anti – Buddhist Media and Myanmar

http://buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=51,13031,0,0,1,0#.WEGCvbnluUk

Senaka Weeraratna

8 Responses to “The anti-Buddhist crusade of Sri Lanka’s media”

  1. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    This is the problem in Sri Lanka for the Sinhalese Buddhists. Buddhists and Buddhism are being systematically
    destroyed without any hindrance. Sinhalaya famous for being modayas can’t see it. It has been sped up since
    the catholic-run UNPatriotic party’s wrestling control from MR thanks to puppet aappa maru (hora) sira. Maru sira
    is just pathetic vengeful man without a backbone who has nothing to offer. In front of traitor chief die hard catholic
    token Buddhist Batalande Wadakaya pol pot [email protected] wickramaSinhalakiller maru sira is just a pussy cat. He knows Batalande Wadakaya
    is murderous and crafty. So maru sira makes sure he stays well away from the Pathala mana pm let Batalande
    Wadakaya destroy Sri Lanka, Sinhalese race and Buddhism.

    Sri Lanka is today ruled by the west worshipping die hard catholic token Buddhist Batalande Wadakaya pol pot
    [email protected] wickramaSinhalakiller whose lifelong ambition is to partition Sri Lanka, destroy Sinhalese race and Buddhism
    to please his ardent supporters traitor tamils, mussies, catholics and catholic west. Fortunately for him a lot of
    Sinhala modayas don’t understand this simple truth. So he promise the modayas free helicopters, free cars,
    million jobs etc. etc. and the modayas vote for the Pathala Man with their feet.

    Look at his Sinhala modayas support base. Jvp red elephants (whose followers were burnt in tyres by the catholic
    run UNPatriotics), malwatte thibbotu brained thibbotte (who helps Buddhism destroying catholic run UNPatriotics),
    cham paxxya, kirixxlla, arjunaya durjanaya, parajithaya, etc. etc. Traitor list is endless. Not an iota of partriotism
    in those low lives. Who cares about Sri Lanka, Sinhalese race or Buddhism lining up their pockets is their main goal.

    Take a look at appointments UNPatriotics made. All done by Batalande Wadakaya pathala man PM.
    austin fdo eastern governor, reginald cooray his catholic buddies
    austin fdo even went to see his catholic buddy foreign minister tamil sellan with apples and grapes. No wonder
    UNPatriotics to end the war. Why end it when the catholic tigers were killing mainly Buddhists and destroying
    Buddhism in the north and the east.
    Army chief appointed by [email protected] who ran to get blessed by Sri Lanka’s most powerful man MR (not that MR we all
    think, it was malcolm ranjith)
    governor of central bank his catholic buddy arjun maha horandran
    finance minister his catholic buddy karu paiya karunkanayagam; the pair did the biggest robbery in the history of
    Sri Lanka. Still the catholic run media call Batalande Wadakaya MR CLEAN!

  2. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Some useful links for the brain dead Sinhala modayas to see how their beloved catholic-run UNPatriotic party
    destroying Sinhalese race, Sri Lanka and Buddhism. You won’t see these in catholic-run Sri Lanka media.
    Buddist Sri Lanka? Of course, on paper. Don’t worry UNPatriotics working hard to destroy it completely. Traitor chief
    [email protected] wickramaSinhalakiller for the first time in charge of Sri Lanka.

    Buddhist jvp burns in tyres, eyes gorged out when alive (read Batalande report). Catholic tigers of tamil drealam
    given half the country by [email protected] wickramaSinhalakiller on a plate to his catholic buddy hitler mala paharan.
    For a lot of Sinhala modayas Pathala Man is a hero. Can you believe it?

    http://ltte-christian-ties.blogspot.com/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV6_o9txURc

    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2015/08/05/christianizing-of-sri-lanka-unps-betrayal-of-buddhism/

    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2016/05/27/ranil-wickremasinghes-new-unp-3/

    http://www.lankagrid.com/soma-thero/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_eJ1gX_fuU

    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2016/09/26/ltte-terrorism-church-links-can-someone-explain-these-photos/

    Not surprising nobody even bothered to comment on the article. Shows how complacent the Sinhalese are.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    How about TAMILNET, uktamilnews, lankasri, sangam, etc.?

    These are MUCH WORSE than DAILY NEWS!!

    What is the religion of their editors?

  4. S.Gonsal Says:

    Lorenzo,
    This is the problem. Instead of cutting down the correct tree, they are bombing “grass”.

  5. S.Gonsal Says:

    It is Hinduism supported by Indian Colonials that ruined Sri Lanka and Buddhism. Time to time some rubbish come from India and Buddhists fall for it. “Naadi Vaakyam” came in the late nineties. Now the latest is hindu myth of coconut breaking ( instead of voting against in the parliament) and worshipping Hindu shrines.
    Biggest bugger is worshiping pope, giving money to Muslims , running to India to worship tamil gods and these “patriots” have no complaints.

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    VERY TRUE GONSAL.

    Mostly BUDDHISTS are carried away by these BS. Last time when I was in SL I was SHOCKED to learn that a MUSLIM is running a HUGE KOVIL in RAGAMA (used to be a Christian place). They do various DEVIL DANCING at the KOVIL with mostly Buddhist participation.

    That Muslim man’s father was an ASTROLOGER very close to MR and he was ABDUCTED and KILLED in 2013 (lets say by SIRISENA) for predicting MR will lose the next election.

  7. charithsls Says:

    Just a few articles above here, there is an Island article headlined ‘God calls IGP’.This is a clear example what Senaka here is referring to; Why did it headline as ‘God’ as it the entity Sinhala Majority believes. We’ve no qualms Obama or any US president refers to God whenever deemed necessary but this is another not so subtle means to demean Buddhism.
    I know several comments in the opinion column supporting Buddhism against some previous articles adverse to Buddhism in the opinion column in Island were not published by the Christian Editor there.This is also seen very clearly in sports articles both in Daily News & Island. Reggie Candappa , the DN Sports Editor who always refer to God & Christian schools & same with Rex Clementine in Island in their sports articles. These cannot go unnoticed anymore.

  8. samurai Says:

    As a former Lake House staffer I agree with the writer. During my time there Lynn Ockresz, a staunch Catholic and Deputy Editor Daily News organized Catholic prayer sessions in the company premises. This became such a problem that the then editor of the paper and the LH Chairman, though both were non-Buddhists, were compelled to put a stop to it. Then there was the Features Editor Ruwan Godage also a Catholic was very reluctant to give space to Buddhist articles. I remember when the Sinhala Year fell on Good Friday, the article that received prominence was the one on Good Friday.

    Soon after the tsunami of December 2004 the Daily News published an utterly nonsensical editorial on the disaster, titled GOD’S PUNISHMENT! (Unfortunately, I forget the exact date of the editorial) Now what crime had the thousands of the tsunami victims had done to be so punished? If this so-called ‘god’ was responsible for such a punishment he only deserves to be called a Satan.

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