Enforcing a culture of independence


It is humbling to reflect on the fact that it has been one hundred years since my grandfather, Don Richard Wijewardene, published the first issue of the Daily News on January 3, 1918. The newspaper began, as did its sister paper Dinamina, as a champion of the national independence movement and as an instrument to educate and activate the public through facts. My grandfather believed, as I do, that a vibrant national press would be foundational to any real democracy.

Indeed, in the past one hundred years, Sri Lanka has had several English newspapers rise and fall while overcoming civil unrest and a war against terror, while the Daily News alone has stood the test of time and remained a fixture in households and offices across the country. Its history is not without blemish. The newspaper, like many others, has seen dark times.

Political agendas and fiction have triumphed over facts, and management turned a blind eye as journalists across the country were abducted, beaten and killed.

It is with this perspective that the present management deserves commendation for enforcing a culture of independence and balance in the newsroom. Indeed, some of the most incisive coverage of many stories perceived to be critical of this government, have reached the public through the pages of the Daily News. On behalf of all Sri Lankans, I salute the journalists, editors and administrators of our nation’s oldest English-language newspaper, and wish them yet another one hundred years of service to the very fabric of our society.

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