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Journalism Awards for Excellence 2016

The 18th edition of the Journalism Awards for Excellence programme will culminate with the annual ‘Awards Night’ on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at the Empire Ballroom of the Mount Lavinia Hotel - the host hotel for the gala event.

The event which was launched in 1999 by The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka and is now organised by The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka in partnership with the Sri Lanka Press Institute, is the biggest media awards programme in the country.

The aim of the programme is to recognise professionalism in 14 categories of the print media of Sri Lanka and reward excellence over a particular year.

An overseas scholarship is also offered by the Lakshman Kadirgamar Foundation to the winner of the Denzil Peiris Young Reporter of the Year.

It also honours those who have served the journalistic profession for more than 45 years with Lifetime Achievement Awards.

The five recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards for 2016 are: Widana Gamage Gunerathne, Lakshman Jayawardena, S.A.C.M.Kuwaldeen, Palavasam Panneer Selvam and Gaston de Rosayro.

The Editors’ Guild also presents two special awards by its own nomination at the event; the D.R.Wijewardene Award for Recognition by Peers and the Public and the Sepala Gunasena Award for Defending Press Freedom in Sri Lanka.

Messrs. Keells is the main sponsor of this year’s event along with the National Lotteries Board and the Development Lotteries Board. Other sponsors are People’s Bank and Bank of Ceylon. Sri Lankan Airlines will fly the winner of the Young Reporter of the Year Award abroad for a course of study.

Brief profiles of the Life Time Achievement Award winners:


Widana Gamage Gunerathne:

Widana Gamage Gunerathne who has recorded 51-years as a journalist, commenced his journalist carrier in 1963 as the Kamburupitiya Group Correspondent of Lake House. A few years later he joined Lake House as a staffer.

WG as he is popularly known among his colleagues, became the News Editor of the Dinamina and later the Deputy Editor of Silumina.

He has also worked in the Sunday Observer. WG won a scholarship from the Asia Foundation and studied Humanities in Journalism at the Michigan University, USA.

He worked at the Media Secretariat of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga for three years.

He later joined Wijeya Newspapers and became Provincial Editor of the daily Lanakadeepa. WG was the first head of the web edition. He has translated and edited several books. He received his education from Rahula College, Matara, Batuwita Vidyalaya, Kitalagama and Tihagoda Junior School.


Lakshman Jayawardena:

Lakshman Jayawardena joined the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (Lake House) as a trainee journalist in 1965 and worked in the Janatha, Dinamina and was News Editor on the Silumina newspapers.

He later joined Wijeya Newspapers and helped establish the Lankadeepa (Daily) and held positions of News Editor, Deputy Editor and Associate Editor.

He re-joined Lake House in 1995 as its Chairman. During his tenure as Chairman the Daily News and Sunday Observer online editions were inaugurated. He also started the Journalism Training Institute. He later moved on and joined the Sri Lanka Foreign Service and was appointed Press Attaché to the Sri Lankan High Commission in Canada and India.

He has authored several books and among them was a book in Sinhala introducing the Internet and also a book on the Sri Lankan Foreign Service.


S.A.C.M. Kuwaldeen:

S.A.C.M. Kuwaldeen, commenced his career in journalism through the Dinapathi Daily Newspaper in 1966. Kuwaldeen, who had his education in Jaffna, has written several short stories and articles for several national newspapers.

He was a reporter for Eelamani Newspaper which was published by the Times Limited in 1970’s and Seithy magazine published in Kandy. He continues his work as a Kandy - Senkadagala area correspondent for Virakesari Newspaper.

His short stories were published in publications such as Virakesari, Virakesari Weekly and Mithiran. He has received many Awards: Rathinadeepam Award in 1996, Sahithya Award for Media in 2005 by the Central Province Hindu Cultural Ministry and Maadhiya Suri Award sponsored by the Sri Lanka Graduate University, Asgiriya Buddhist Faculty.

In 2010, the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum honored him with an Achievers Medal and to crown it all the State awarded him the Kalabhushana Award.


Palavasam Panneer Selvam:

Palavasam Panneer Selvam was Born in Colombo and started his journalistic career on the Virakesari newspaper at Express Newspapers Ceylon Limited. He writes articles connected with Parliament, politics, general news and analytical articles based on Tamil Nadu politics.


Gaston de Rosayro:

Gaston de Rosayro is a professional writer who possesses five decades of journalistic experience both in Sri Lanka and the Asian region.

He has held several editorial executive positions including the title of Editor-in-Chief in newspapers in Colombo, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. He started his career in the Daily News as a reporter and Sub-Editor and its sister afternoon journals the Observer and Sunday Observer as a reporter, sub-editor, feature writer and columnist.

He left Sri Lanka in 1978 to take up an appointment with the New Straits Times in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as an Executive Sub-Editor.

At the end of his contract he was invited to join a new newspaper the Singapore Monitor as a Senior Editor.

In 1985 he was recruited to join the Hong Kong Standard as Managing Editor Publications in which capacity he worked for eight years. He joined the South China Morning Post as a Senior Editor in 1993. He was appointed Colombo Correspondent for the Post in 1995. During his stints in these overseas journals he was a frequent contributor to the Lake House journals.

On returning to Sri Lanka, he was requested to establish a newspaper - The Weekend Express and was its Editor-in-Chief.

Gaston is also an author and one of his publications includes the highly acclaimed biography of Rienzie T.Wijetilleke titled ‘The Banker, the Man, the Legend’. Another is the greatly applauded book on satire titled ‘The Serendib Spirit’.