The Sunday Leader

Rajapaksa, Fonseka Battle It Out In Cyberspace

By Munza Mushtaq

As if the conventional mud slinging campaigns were insufficient, the country’s two top presidential contenders, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sarath Fonseka, have unleashed their political war in cyberspace by launching countless websites and fan pages to ensure their victory at the January 26 election.

This is the first time in Sri Lanka’s political history that frontline politicians are using the internet extensively for their individual political campaigns.

Rajapaksa and Fonseka have both launched their official websites (www.mahinda2010.lk / www.sarathfonseka.com), Facebook fan pages, Twitter and various other pages popular on the internet for the upcoming election.

The Sunday Leader has also stumbled upon several websites tasked with carrying out mud slinging campaigns against rival contenders on the world wide web.  www.sfbalakaya.com, which claims to be the ‘official website of General Sarath Fonseka’ is one such bogus site, and is being maintained by a rival political group.

Visitors who initially believe this to be official website of Fonseka soon realise it is a bogus website targeting the former Army Commander due to the extensive mud slinging the website indulges in, including slanderous cartoons poking fun at Fonseka and news stories, all negative, of him.

“Groups with close links to powerful individuals launched various scathing attacks on the internet against the common opposition presidential candidate (Fonseka) soon after he announced his candidature for this month’s elections, and this ‘sfbalakaya’ website is one such internet mud slinging campaign,” a spokesman from Fonseka’s media unit said.

Meanwhile, Fonseka’s official website has dedicated a special page for President Rajapaksa titled ‘exposed’, which has alleged that the President was instrumental in committing various corrupt deals.

Despite the existence of several election monitoring bodies in the country which monitor various violations and violence related incidents, the monitoring is yet to extend to cyberspace.

On Facebook, despite anti-Fonseka pages in the inception, the official Sarath Fonseka fan page has proved to be the most popular in comparison to President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Facebook fan page. Fonseka’s Facebook fan page as of Thursday evening had a total  of 52,272 fans while President Rajapaksa’s Facebook fan page consisted of only 38,711 fans.

However despite the lower number of fans on his fan page, the administrators of Rajapaksa’s fan page have come up with a unique idea, which is to bring together all the Rajapaksa supporters of this page at an event in Colombo. However no date has been announced for this exercise.

Websites have also become a lucrative business ever since the date for the presidential election was set, with individuals registering websites under the names of the main presidential candidates and then selling them to interested parties for a massive US $ 1000 at least. On average, registering a basic website would cost between US $ 25 to US $ 100 only.

The government, which has a massive budget for advertising in comparison to Fonseka’s insignificant promotional budget, is using all methods possible to get the word out there by advertising on various local websites and even foreign websites such as news sites which are often accessed by Sri Lankans.

Both Rajapaksa and Fonseka are also seen on the popular youtube.com boxing it out in style in a one minute long video clip inside a boxing ring, with Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake seen as the referee in the match.

The video is of course fake, with the faces of Rajapaksa, Fonseka and Dissanayake being superimposed onto the bodies of actual fighters/referee at an unknown match, but it goes to show the kind of political impact the main two presidential contenders have made, even in cyberspace.

45 Comments for “Rajapaksa, Fonseka Battle It Out In Cyberspace”

  1. Dr. Guneratne

    There’s no such page called “Exposed” on General Sarath Fonseka’s Official website. Please do not report false info and correct your article! General Fonseka’s campaign will not stoop to that level!

    • xxcc

      Paharaya, Gemba are words that a president would use in a media conference? I thought that’s the lowest anyone can go.

    • xxcc

      Paharaya, Gemba are words that a president would use in a media conference? I thought that’s the lowest anyone can go.

    • Magodis

      Another mud-slinging?

  2. sahil

    Thanks Munza – nice article!
    It seems SF is winning the Cyber war with even his meager campaign budget.
    His letter to his online supporters is rather fantastic too – and it was put up about one month ago – before MR was even thinking about this venue.
    Good work SF campaign! Very Y3K :)

    • chanuka

      It do not mean sri lankan every voter has facebook account and there is no winning or loosing based on face book. Dumb fools think that it is a indication of winning and most of the internet users are out of sri lanka and it is hilarious to hear about cyber war. war mongers think everything as war.

      • sahil

        hi chanuka,
        By war I was referring to the article title.
        Don’t be confused.
        Also, yes I’m sure they know that FB accounts are limiting etc, but the good thing is they are exploring this option much more than MR.

    • samanalaya

      kalawedi sahil wetha liyami,
      Sf ge facebook page eka patan gaththe war eka kaale di.a kale api yudden hari mea rate saamaya ethi karanna one kiyala hithapu mea rate minissu ekata join una paksha bedayakin thorawa.eth ada,SF jaathi drohiyek bawa ethuma karana kiyana dewal walin pehediliwama penawa.ithin SF ge page eke loku ganak inne eda hitapu aya.a page eke nama wenas karala SF use karanawa.But,MR ge page eka patan gaththe election ekata.eke inne true supporters la.ithin den thaara bara atha erala hithala balanna.ethakota penei kawda fb eka beluwath dinum kiyala.:P
      meeta samanalaya

      • Suresh

        Samanalaya wetha – oyatharam upset nang FB page eken aying wenne puluwang ne?? Oya katha kiyapang konde bandhaphu cheennunta!

  3. Velupillai's Ghost

    Sf’s facebook page is full if bogus accounts just to increase the number.Facebook president will s the stars on 26th..

  4. Velupillai's Ghost

    Sf’s facebook page is full if bogus accounts just to increase the number.Facebook president will see the stars on 26th..

  5. Nandana

    “insignificant promotional budget”. does this budget include the amounts paid to buy UPFA members .

    • Romanis

      Nadana and Vlpillai Ghost buffalos, majority of SL voters are not buffalos this time. Whatever media/i’net campaign, ground reality is that SF is far ahead than Sri Lankan Version of Robert Mugabe (RM=MR) whether it is in Urban or Rural. U will see who sees the stars by 27th Morning not on 26th. Come to Sri Lanka and see the reality

      • chanuka

        Romanis .. gemba kalawadda haraka booruwa gunamakuwa. nice words hear from your leader. setting good example for kids. If some one speak in public like that we can assume how he will react in closed room. :D

        • Maddy Maxmara

          i fully agree with chanuka. you are right 100%. sf already lost the race mainly because of his bad mouth.

        • Suresh

          Kalawadda ta kalwadda kiyala katha karata mokadha thiyena upset eka? Hansayata baya wela wage malli

  6. however SF is in front if you consider cyber publishing and voting systems,

  7. ardneham

    Dont get carried away by Cyber space fans – mostly from the West in thirst of
    local news.
    The usual “Sinhala Modays” will do the right thing – as expected by the Tamils!!

  8. Arjunan

    In 30 years no Army Commander was able to win the war, not even Fonseka.

    Fonseka has served in the military for years. The only reason he achieved success is due to the support extended by the government, defence secretary, and the president.

    You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

    That’s why Fonseka will loose.

    • Ranmal

      @ Arjunan: In 30 yrs no president was able to win the war. The only reason Mahinda did was because of the great commanders of the forces such as Gen. Fonseka.

      Mahinda will lose because he thinks the (team) victory against the LTTE means that your average voter has to turn a blind eye to all the corruption and nepotism and blatent flaunting of the law that goes on everyday.

      8 more years of this and Sri Lanka Paradise will without a doubt be Sri Lanka PARALYSED and then it will be too late to make the changes we so desperately need.

      Jan 26th is the day for change and thus it is the day for Fonseka.

    • Nadaal

      whatever without Fonseka no body would have achieved this feat. After winning the war thanks to Fonseka the Royal family thought the country belonged to them and who ever had a difference of opinion was intimidated harassed and sometimes eradicated and the nations wealth was plundered by family and cronies. We do not agree to that and that s why we are going to vote for General Sarath Fonseka.

      • M&M

        You wait and see what SF will do if he is put in that pedestal. You people are so foolish! Now, how is that he is different? He has come in to politics looking for power, he is taking revenge from where he got up to this point, he has shown us that he is a puppet, he has shown us that he has done arms deals etc etc, he has been unpatriotic by seeking US help & I am not going in to this details either. Please enlighten me how he will be a Monk in a cave!

    • Maddy Maxmara

      anyone who can think impartial would agree with arjunan. if not the political leadership we would still be under the grip of prabhakaran. just 1 question to those who are under the impression that sf alone has won the war. when external super powers such as us, uk, france, norway etc., sent their various ministers, officials to sri lanka… they met MR o SF?

  9. CV

    He has done the best when given, likewise he will do best to the country if given. No boru show, just do it.

  10. Aristotal

    This is uniqe opportinity and an effective barometer to judge the level of intelligence the electorate and those who use the cyberspace not forgetting our political ELITE>
    I hope that that SF wins so that he can implement a military type regime as Lew Kuan Lee did when he won the elections in 1965 in Singapore. See what has done to that country. We dewsparately need a benevolent dictator who could do just that. If SF wins the elctions democraticaly, the world will aplause such a victry and the Sri Lankans will be benificiaries. .

  11. kalu sudda

    Now that the Madam editor of the leader has undressed SF to show what type of a gangster he is will she be holding up his Amude?

  12. fact check this reporter failed to do .

    foseka’s facebook page existed since when he was army commander. most of his his ‘fans’ there are from that time mr’s facebook is recent

    • Aagreed…MR page was developed just for the campaign where as SFs one has already been gathering fans since he was the army commander…

      • samanalaya

        sahathika eththa,u r correct naveen.

        • Nadun

          Yes. MR Page was available only in December and it looks it had grown faster than SF. Still it will be good to beat the numbers to avoid this type of analysis.

    • Suresh

      so why haven’t people left his fan club then?? If they’re still there as his fans, it must mean they support him ya?

      • 58 paawaaa dunnalage fonseka

        am also in SF’s fan page……..not to support him …just to gather information of this poor fellow…whos gonna loose…n blown away on 27th….most of SF suppoters that i knw have stopped supporting cus of his chatter kata ……

        • Hansaya

          As long as presence of Sri Lankan poolish people like you this could have happened. But here you can see a Truthful Change after 27th January 2010

  13. Marasinha

    I feel shame of our people who has No gratitude at all for the president who ended this terrible war and gave us of mind.

  14. Geek

    CARRY ON SUNDAY LDER, YOU HAVE TO SATISFY THE DECISION OF THE BOARDOF DIRECTORS TO BRAODLY SUPPORT SARATH FONSEKA IRRESPECTIVE OF FREDRICA’S ” PERSONAL RESERVATIONS AS A MEDIA PERSON ”

    UNBOWED ( BUT LEANIENT ) AND UNAFRAID AND BIASED.

    GOOD LUCK !

  15. 58 paawala dunnalage fonseka

    I just wanna say that Sarath foenseka facebook fan page was started 3 months ago . He was not even retired or no one have ever thought he might get involved in the elections when this fan page was started. Its because of that SF got more fans in facebook than MR. Mahinda rajapakshas fan page started one month ago and MR is nearing 50000 in a short period…so if some one says SF is more popular than MR by jst looking at the number of fans …i wud say no……so please make that adjustmnt in your lovely article………………….Thnx

  16. samanalaya

    sahathika eththa.SF paradinawa sure.

    • Suresh

      Samanalayata sahathikaya dheparak balanna wewi 27 wenidhata. Oya kiyana sahathikaya, saatakayath ekka kunu goda uda thiyewi… lol…!

  17. shan

    I think internet has little impact on the election campaign in Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, the internet penetration is very minimal. Most users are expatriate Sri Lankans.

  18. Dan

    Messages must meet the villagers. Website do not reach the villagers. We need to canvas grassroot level. I am sure the JVP has the know how to meet this need. I believe the UNPrs have to go house to house. Website do not reach even one percent of the voters. I hope and trust that the leaders would realize this.

    • M&M

      I am sure the villages will believe what they see & experience first hand in their real lives not something comes from a tube! Clolombo people can continue to be the fools and be a couch potato. No wonder they are over weight!

  19. Dear citizens

    watch YA TV interview with Mr.Wijedasa Rajapakse. You get overall picture of how public wealth robbed by greedy politicians and their wang gangan.Mainly, the resources are not equally distributed , gross of malpractices, selfishness, magical promises, nepotism leads to this beautiful country in peril and division.

  20. Nice Post! I found what I was looking for and I’ve bookmarked for future reference :-) Cheers

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