The Commitment To The Truth

The Sunday Leader has continued to be at the centre of public attention for decades. Unbowed and unafraid in its practice of journalism; much of this attention has forced its journalists on a warpath with successive regimes. Its founder editor assassinated less than five years ago, the press set on fire and its lead investigative reporter Faraz Shaukatally shot and several others harassed, the predawn attack on its Associate Editor Mandana Ismail last Saturday has made its readers revisit the sad history of the paper once more.

While the police need necessarily to be commended for the prompt action in apprehending the culprits and ensuring the security of the lives of Mandana and her family, it must be noted that the investigations are far too early in its stages to prejudge the motives behind the incident. To conclude whether it was indeed a theft that took place or otherwise, there remains more that need to be in place.

From the inexplicable timeframe of the robbery to one culprit revealing they were indeed on a contract against the journalist, to the very timing of the incident; hours before the UN Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay was to arrive in Sri Lanka, the investigations need serious looking into before one could arrive at any rational conclusion.

Whatever direction the investigation moves, one cannot ignore the fact that it was indeed the house of a senior journalist of an independent newspaper that was in the forefront of bringing the truth before the people that was at the end of that attack. The fact also remains that the five men who forcibly entered Mandana’s house and held her, her aged parents and her little daughter in fear, did so in the heart of Colombo.

It is also a fact that one of the arrested has nine warrants issued against him – a clear indication of the little faith we can place on the law enforcement authorities. With such persons out in the loose in this manner, the threat placed on helpless taxpayers cannot be ignored. What assurances are there that this same culprit will not be released on bail and move into the next act of violence against another innocent victim?

If one were to conclude it was indeed a robbery that took place the fear instilled in the mind of journalists like Mandana and the resultant suspicions, given the journalism we at The Sunday Leader practice cannot be overlooked. It is a fear we have seen in the faces of helpless people who look towards us to share their story with others, one that we have heard over and over again as we struggle to bring light upon the truth. It is also the same fear that has the capacity to affect the writing that is the strength of The Sunday Leader

It is in removing that fear that we are forced to look at the law enforcement authorities; an exercise that was commendably carried out where Mandana’s incident was concerned. However, until the investigation is indeed concluded and every question answered a lot would remain undone. And in the vacuum many questions allowed to garner strength. The fact remains that it is not easy to practice our kind of journalism. Intimidated, threatened and assassinated in the process, we are continued to be isolated and berated for our strengths.

But our belief in the truth and our right to bring that truth before readers who continue to stand by us, shall continue. This is a truth that we at The Sunday Leader have committed ourselves to tell; and in doing so continuing to pay a huge price.

2 Comments for “The Commitment To The Truth”

  1. nawala

    Well done editor, a very hard hitting editorial, this couldn’t have been written any better even by the person who gave the contract. As we know this paper is now own by a stooge, and you have made sure you covered the most obvious conclusion to the investigation, and leave you staff member hanging. I guess at the end of all this Mandana will be leaving to live overseas and the Krish dealings will be buried.

  2. Gabriella

    “Unbowed and Unafraid” – surely you jest ! Shouldn’t the new motto be ‘gelded and muzzled’ ?

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