Eighteen Years Unbowed And Unafraid
The Sunday Leader on June 19, 2012 will be 18 years old.
The shock and deep sadness following the brutal assassination of LasanthaWickrematunge, Founder Editor of this newspaper in January 2009 however failed to dent the spirit which has steadfastly stood The Sunday Leader strong – to remain ‘unbowed and unafraid.’ Nevertheless the tragedy of Lasantha’s death has scarred us all – for life.
Eighteen years since its inception, The Sunday Leader has not only won the most number of awards for excellence in journalism both locally and internationally but earned a brand name — a reputation — for courageous reporting.
In these last 18 years this newspaper has been burnt, bombed, sealed and coerced. A number of its journalists have been assaulted, harassed, threatened and finally Lasantha, its Editor, murdered.
2012 is The Sunday Leader’s 18th year. Many things have changed in Sri Lanka during that time, and it does not need us to tell you that the greater part of that change has not been for the better. Corruption and unaccountability has become the order of the day. Indeed, intimidation and murder have been used as successful tools whereby the state seeks to control the organs of liberty. Today it is the journalist tomorrow it will be the judge. For neither have the risks ever been higher or the stakes lower.
The Sunday Leader has been a controversial newspaper because we say it like we see it. The investigative articles we print are supported by documentary evidence. We have exposed scandal after scandal, and never once in these 18 years has anyone succeeded in denting our spirit or our commitment to professional and independent reporting. In fact some say we are 25 years ahead of this country. The Sunday Leader has never sought safety by unquestioningly articulating the majority view. Let’s face it, that is the way to sell newspapers. On the contrary, as our opinion pieces over the years amply demonstrate, we often voice ideas that many people find distasteful. In this challenging backdrop, my job has been made that much easier due to the fact that I am supported by an able and brave team who despite the odds stand firm – displaying no fear nor favour. Week after week they all collectively ensure the spirit of this newspaper continues unabated. A commitment I have long learnt never to take for granted for God knows they work against terrific odds – making sacrifices that are not made for their own glory or self enrichment.
(Editor In Chief)