“Paba” In A Foul Spin
By Raisa Wickrematunge
A last minute emergency switch led to Parliamentarian Upeksha Swarnamali castigating a Derana TV director after an old interview featuring her was aired on Monday, November (15).
Director News and Current Affairs, Derana, Shehan Baranage said the issue had arisen after a scheduled interview with the Deputy Minister of Research fell through. ‘On Monday, the day of filming, he was ill and couldn’t make it for our political show 360 Degrees,’ Baranage explained. Finding themselves in a tight spot, Baranage said they had handpicked an old interview featuring Swarnamali, since it was one of the more popular with a wide response from viewers.
However at about 11.30 pm on the 15th, Swarnamali had phoned Baranage and demanded to know why the station had not asked for her permission before airing the interview.
Baranage said she had then launched into a tirade, using foul language and threatening him saying, “Don’t think I’ll just let you wait like this.” He added that the voice of another person could be heard, egging Swarnamali on.
Baranage said he had requested that Swarnamali use language befitting a parliamentarian. “She used to talk so nicely. I was shocked,” Baranage said. He added that Derana had meant no harm in airing the interview for a second time. Swarnamali had called Baranage as many as 10 to 15 times, continuing to complain. A final text message sent from her at 6:30 am the following day read, “I hate you all.”
Swarnamali did not answer repeated phone calls when the The Sunday Leader tried contacting her for comment.
Swarnamali recently switched sides defecting from the United National Party to join the government.