Keheliya angry over Lankadeepa, Leader and Lanka e News

Lanka-e-News, 2008 March 25, 8.00 PM) Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella criticized Lankadeepa, Leader and Lanka-e-News website for disseminating news that affected the security forces.

Lankadeepa was criticized since one of its articles said that the Army Commander Sarath Fonseka first said that the war would be ended after Wanni and Kilinochchi were captured but now he says that eliminating terrorists is worthier than capturing ground. The Minister said that the writer was trying to emphasize that this as duplicity, But the Army Commander wanted to state that the ground would be retained easily as the terrorists were eliminated.

Minister Rambukwella said that an article in Sunday Leader said ironically that the difference between the LTTE’s strength and its death toll proclaimed by the Army was mere 600, undermining the seriousness of the war. He said that the article had deliberately excluded the child recruitments and other recruitment drives that amounted to thousands after the war was commenced.

Lanka-e-News was criticized by the Minister for yesterday�s news with the heading ‘A team to gather information of media persons in the guise of gathering information of LTTE.’ The Minister said that the news was misleading emphasizing that the government had no need to suppress media.

However, a debate was triggered as the Lanka-e-News representative stood for the accuracy of the story of his website.

Question: We have information that the state has sent the phone numbers of several journalists, together with the phone contacts of LTTE cadre Ramesh who is now in custody, to obtain information of the telephone calls they have made. These media persons report security affairs. Is this news wrong?

Answer: If journalists are in the phone book of Ramesh, they might have connection with him.

Question: The problem is that the media persons’ names have been sent to the phone companies falsely stating that they were among the contacts of Ramesh. We know that the phone numbers of at least two journalists are under scrutiny.

Answer: It can be two of the journalists of your website. You posted a false report on Maheswaran killing as well. But I do not talk about it now.

Question: The relevant phone numbers belong to two journalists of state media. They have no connivance with terrorism.

Answer: We have to go after any information obtained from Ramesh. If their names have been added erroneously, the investigation will be good for them. However, no such special team has been appointed so far.

Question: What does so far mean? Do you hope to do so in future?

Answer: We do not have any such idea for the moment. That period can be years, months or days.