Introduction to Sri Lankan News Media
Like all other colonies, the endeavour of printing newspapers in Sri Lanka was first taken up by the British. In 1829, the British government appointed the Colebrooke-Cameron commission to ensure better and smooth functioning of the British government. The commission after conducting a thorough survey of the state of affairs of the British government made a few recommendations along with certain changes in the legal domain. The main motive being the curtailment of the misuse of the British governor’s power, the commission proposed to publish a newspaper for the island. They thought that a regularly printed daily would bring about better transparency in the proceedings of the British government and would, in turn, put a stop to the internal corruption related to the governor’s offices.
Thus, Sri Lanka had its first newspaper called Colombo Journal. It was started on 1st January 1832 and continued for one year. On 31st December 1833, the government stopped its publication to give space to the private enterprises who could now expand into the printing business. However, many historians are of the view that the Colombo Journal’s very critical outlook towards the British Government was the main reason for its abrupt ending.
From then, many newspapers have played a very effective role on the island. Some have continued their journey from the pre-independent era to the modern era, while others have stopped their publications for lack of readership or funds. Among all these, the first newspaper that is intimately tied to the history of Sri Lanka is The Times of Ceylon. It was started in 1846 under the name of Ceylon times with its publication centre in Colombo. The newspaper had an active presence for more than a century and eventually stopped its business in 1985.
Most of the English newspapers published in the pre-independent period were edited by the European board and had no representative from the native population. In this context, D. R. Wijewardene gave leadership in ensuring the participation of the indigenous people in the printing business. As a freedom fighter, he was committed to championing the cause of the Sri Lankan people and he realised that newspapers were a great way to create a public consensus against the British Government.
With this idea, Ceylon Daily News began its journey on 3rd January 1918 under the patronage of D. R. Wijewardene. Eventually, many indigenous newspapers followed their footsteps. On 4th February 1923, The Ceylon Observer which was published only on Sundays started its journey.
Sri Lanka has been a diverse country beaming with the presence of different religious and linguistic communities. As a result, it has had great variation in the case of newspaper publication. The latter half of the 20th century has also seen a rise in the number of political parties who have used the medium of the newspaper as an effective mode of communication with the masses. In this article, we present a comprehensive list of the newspapers and news sites that are currently operating in Sri Lanka along with all the relevant information about their business.
The article has been divided into the following categories:
A. Sinhala Newspapers
B. Sinhala News Sites
C. Sri Lankan Newspapers in English
D. English News Sites
E. Sri Lankan Newspapers in Tamil
F. Tamil News Sites
G. Sri Lankan News Agencies
A. Sinhala Newspapers
In this section, we discuss all the major newspaper houses that publish dailies in the Sinhala language across Sri Lanka.
Established in 1991, Lankadeepa is one of the most popular Sinhala Language newspapers in Sri Lanka. It is owned by Wijeya Newspapers, one of the prominent media houses of the country. Ranjith Wijewardene, son of D.R. Wijewardena is the present chairman of the organisation. D.R. Wijewardena is a very famous name in the newspaper industry of Sri Lanka. He was one of the earliest newspaper magnates who had taken part in the freedom struggle movement of Sri Lanka and struggled hard to materialise the need for printing dailies owned by the native population.
Wijeya Newspapers Limited, a company started by D. R. Wijewardena’s son Ranjith Wijewardene, is now regarded as one of the most successful newspaper enterprises in the country. Ranjith Wijewardene had also been the chairman of Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited which was later taken over by the Government.
Expanse: Headquartered in Colombo, the Sinhala Language Daily’s current circulation mounts up to 150,000. It publishes news in the domain of politics, sports, entertainment, and military. Apart from the regular publication, it also has a Sunday supplement called Irida Lankadeepa with a total circulation of 350,000.
Awards: Irida Lankadeepa, the Sunday version of the daily bagged the SLIM-Nielsen people’s awards consecutively for three years from the year 2006. In 2010, it also won the award for being Sri Lanka’s one of the most popular weekend newspapers.
Digital Presence: The newspaper also has a fully-functioning website through which it publishes all the important news online. The website has different sections for the efficient categorization of information. Along with the website, the media also has a vibrant social media presence. It has an active page on Facebook with 989,422 number of followers. On YouTube and Twitter, it has a follower count of 22.6K and 56.1K respectively. Its Instagram handle currently has a follower base of 2986 people.
History: Started in 1981, this Sinhala language daily has indeed come a long way. It was founded by D. R. Wijewardena’s nephew Upali Wijewardene, who in his lifetime had become one of the most influential business magnates of Sri Lanka. His ventures were not only limited to printing but were also successful in the domains of confectionary, electronics, automobile manufacturing, and also aviation. In 1983, Upali Wijewardene was presumed to be dead after his private charter disappeared on its way to Colombo from Malaysia. The event marked a tragic day in the history of Sri Lanka as the country mourned the untimely death of one of its most promising businessmen.
Ownership: Presently the daily is owned by Upali Newspapers, one of the very popular publication companies of Sri Lanka. Apart from Divaina, Upali Newspapers as a company publishes various other newspapers and magazines. The Island, another daily published by the same group, is the sister newspaper of Divaina.
Readership: The daily has its headquarters in Colombo. Despite all odds, the newspaper still has a wide reader base and its current circulation numbers are 156,000. Along with the daily Divaina, its Sunday supplement is hugely popular and has a circulation of 40,0000.
Digital Presence: To be at par with the present digital world, the Divaina group also runs a website and maintains pages on the social media platforms. Both the daily and the website publishes news in the Sinhala language The website has sections like ‘Today the Island’, ‘Breaking News’, ‘Local News’, ‘Economic News’, ‘Features’, ‘Editorials, and ‘Sports’. The website also maintains an archive where all the past newspapers are preserved digitally. It also has its own Facebook page to communicate and interact with its readers.
Ownership: Ada is regarded as the third best selling Sinhala language newspaper of Sri Lanka. Like many other prominent newspapers of Sri Lanka, this one is also owned by the Wijewardene family. Wijeya Newspapers, under the patronage of Ranjith Wijewardene, has been successfully running the publication till date.
Sister Newspapers: Daily Mirror, The Sunday Times, Daily Financial Times are some sister newspapers of Ada.
Online Presence: Apart from its Colombo headquarters and nationwide circulation, the daily also has a fully functional website. The website has a designated space for breaking news where live updates are published every minute. It also has separate categories called ‘Opinion’, ‘Women’, ‘Technology’, ‘Business’, ‘Religion’, ‘International’, and ‘Sports’. The daily in the digital format is also uploaded regularly under the E-paper column. The group also has accounts in social media platforms. The Facebook page of Ada has a total of 110,339 followers. On Twitter and YouTube, the daily has 1373 followers and 1.78K subscribers respectively.
Ownership: Mawbima, a very famous Sinhala language newspaper of Sri Lanka, is owned by Tiran Alles. Currently, a member of the Sri Lankan parliament, Tiran Alles is a well known Sri Lankan businessman and politician. His father Ralph Ignatius Thomas Alles a.k.a. R. I. T Alles was a very famous Sri Lankan educationalist who served as the state secretary of the Ministry of Education from 1989 to 1993. In 1988, Tiran Alles started a company called Communication and Business Equipment (CBE). It is CBE who launched Mawbima and its sister newspaper The Sunday Standard.
Digital Presence: Apart from its nation-wide circulation, Mawbima also has a website. The website publishes news under the following categories – Mawbima Now, Political, Overseas, Local, Sports, Technology, Feature, Gossip, Mawbima today, Sunday Mawbima and Video. The website has a separate section where all the breaking news is published and highlighted. It also has an Epaper section where the newspaper can be accessed digitally. Barring the website, Mawbima also has its Facebook and Twitter handle with 42,888 and 5,195 followers respectively.
History: In 1909, Dinamina started its journey as a Sinhalese daily. H. S. Perera, a renowned Sinhalese scholar of that time first took the endeavour to publish this daily and he became both its owner and editor in chief. After Perera’s death in December 1914, D. R. Wijewardene, who later went to own several newspapers of Sri Lanka, bought out the company.
Ownership: The present publisher of the newspaper is The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited, an organization which is run by the Sri Lankan Government.
Digital Presence: The daily also has its website and social media handles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Apart from these, it has an app that can be downloaded by both Android and iOS users.
History: This Sinhala language daily was started in 1930, under the leadership of D.R. Wijewardene.
Ownership: Presently, it is owned by the Sri Lankan government and Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (Lake House) oversees its operations.
Circulation: Headquartered in Colombo, the newspaper has a circulation of 265,000 copies. Famous novelist Martin Wickramasinghe had once been the editor of the Newspaper. Presently, Lakshman Piyasena is the Editor of the daily.
Digital Presence: It has its website and runs pages on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to maintain effective communication with its readers.
Ownership: Like many other prominent Sinhalese newspapers, Deshaya is also owned by Wijeya Newspapers Pvt. Limited. The company which was started by D. R. Wijewardene is currently headed by his son Ranjith Wijewardene. The daily has its headquarters in Colombo which oversees all the operations related to publication and distribution.
Digital Presence: Deshaya also has its website in which news from different categories is published. The website has sections named as News, Business, Sports, Sunday Analysis, Foreign, Features, Health, Political Secrets etc. The group also has Facebook and Twitter handles to post all the recent updates.
Ravaya, a Sinhalese newspaper of Sri Lanka was established in 1987 by Victor Ivan who is a reputed journalist of the country known for his radical views. The newspaper is still celebrated for its unbiased and intellectual analysis of Sri Lankan society and politics. Victor Ivan has now taken the path of Mahatma Gandhi and is keen on presenting the Gandhian philosophy to the common people. After Ivan, Wimalanath Weeraratne is the present chief editor of the daily.
The newspaper also has its website and accounts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Owned by Rivira Media Corporation Pvt. Ltd, this Sinhalese newspaper is published only on Sundays and is known as the sister newspaper of ‘The Nation’ published by the same group. In 2012, its total circulation was 265,000. Currently, it reaches a wider reader base because of its website and social media handles on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
B. Sinhala News Sites
The media groups of Sri Lanka also have certain Sinhalese News sites. These sites help young readers of Sinhala language to stay updated and access news at their convenient place and time. In the following section, we bring a comprehensive list of the Sinhala News Sites that are currently active on the internet.
Gossip Lanka News
History: The news site first launched its website in 2008. From then, it has rapidly emerged as one of the most read and visited news sites of Sri Lanka.
Ownership: Yathura Media Networks Pvt. Ltd. is the owner of this endeavour and oversees all its operations. The company has its headquarters in Nugegoda, Sri Lanka.
Expanse: The website publishes all the important and relevant news of Sri Lanka. It has a separate section where recent news gets updated every minute. The site also has a space for advertising. Along with the Sinhala edition, it also has an English edition to attract readers from around the world. Another website called Lanka Hit Gossip is regarded as the partner website of the group.
Social Media Presence: The group also has active social media pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. On YouTube, the group has a pool of audio-visual content and a total subscriber of 108K. Gossip Lanka News has also joined Twitter in 2010 and currently, it has 4654 followers. The Facebook page of Gossip Lanka News has 2,344,947 followers.
Ownership: Owned by TV Derana, Adaderana is one of the most competitive and successful news sites in the Sinhala language.
Expanse: Since its inception, the news site has emerged as one of the most unbiased and trustworthy sources of news circulation among the people of Sri Lanka. Aided by TV Derana, Adaderana has become the most visited news site of Sri Lanka. Its unique ways of marketing and enlarging its reader base has indeed set up an example for many other websites to follow.
A few years back, Adaderana signed a deal with Sri Lanka’s largest telecom enterprise called Dialog telecom. Following which the subscribers of the company started getting breaking news updates in SMS format delivered to their phones. Currently, every other telecom operator of Sri Lanka avail this service and thus the reader base of the news site has increased manifold. The group also has a team of hundred employees for publication of news on the website.
Digital Presence: The site has a very active presence on the different social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. On Facebook and Twitter, it has 365,988 and 408.6K number of followers. On YouTube, the channel has 885K subscribers.
Awards: Over the years, Adaderana has bagged many awards. It won the SLIM Brand Excellence Silver Award for the Most Innovative Brand of the year at the award ceremony held recently. It has also been recognised by ICTA as the Best e-Content application among e-news providers in Sri Lanka.
The news site also won the silver award as one of the most popular web platforms of Sri Lanka in a competition hosted by the Sri Lanka Domain Registry. The news site has also received international awards such as the Manthan Award South Asia 2010 in the e-news and media category.
Lankatruth has emerged to be one of the most reliable news sites of Sri Lanka. It is a bilingual news publishing website in which news is published in both Sinhala and English language. The Sinhala language website has categories like Home, News, Foreign News, Sports, Economy, Art and Environment. It also has a separate section for news videos.
The website covers news of all kinds and is unique because of its consistent coverage of environmental issues. It gives special focus to news from all over the world.
Moreover, the website is also known for its impartial coverage of news irrespective of political agendas. It also has a separate section for cartoons where caricatures of different events and characters are published regularly. It also has a separate category called Fraud and Corruption in which several sting operations are brought out for public interest.
Lanka Views is a news site committed to perseverance and truth. The site publishes news in categories like Local, World, and Sports. It also has a separate category for the publication of articles written on different relevant subjects. This bilingual news site also has a separate domain for publication of news in the English language. This has further enriched the reader base of the site.
C. Sri Lankan Newspaper in English
Owing to its colonial past, Sri Lanka also has a history of publishing English language newspapers. The first few dailies of the island were first published in English only. Presently, there are many English language Sri Lankan Newspapers owned by the indigenous companies of the island. Daily Mirror
Ownership: In 1999, Daily Mirror, under the ownership of Wijeya Newspapers, first started its journey as an English Language Newspaper of Sri Lanka. Wijeya Newspapers is one of the most powerful and successful newspaper groups of the island. D. R. Wijewardene had started this venture and currently his son Ranjith Wijewardena is the chief of the company. Sunil Jayasiri the present associate editor of the daily.
Expanse: The daily has its headquarters in Colombo. Daily FT, a newspaper focussing on the financial issues is considered to be sister newspaper of Daily mirror. It also has Lankadeepa in Sinhala language and Tamil Mirror in the Tamil language as its allied newspapers. The daily has provisions for different supplements from Monday to Sunday. From Monday to Saturday, two regular supplements called Mirror Business and Life are published. On Tuesdays, a special supplement named W@W – Women at Work, is circulated along with the daily. On Thursdays, a special supplement is printed for the Kids called Junior Mirror. On Sundays, the daily has its very famous supplement called the Sunday Times.
Online Presence: The daily has its apps for the readers which can be downloaded from the different App Stores. Apart from its printed circulations, the news is also published through social media platforms. It also has a website which is updated and all the news along with the E-papers can be accessed there. On Facebook and Instagram, the daily has 480,965 and 39.3K number of followers respectively. Its youtube and Twitter handle is equally popular with 50K and 442.9K followers respectively.
History: It was first started on 3rd January 1918 by D. R Wijewardene.
Ownership: Presently, this is owned by the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited, a government enterprise housed in the prestigious, Colonial-era Lake House building.
Expanse: The newspaper has Lalith Allahakkon as its editor-in-chief. Last year its daily circulation numbers were 88,000. The daily has a main section where news from different categories like National Affairs, International Affairs, Business, Political Analysis, Sports, Editorials and Opinions are published. Every Thursday, the readers of the newspaper get a free supplement called ‘Wisdom’. On Fridays, the newspaper comes with another supplement called ‘The Sri Lanka Gazette’.
Online Presence: Daily News, like all other successful newspaper groups of Sri Lanka, has its website. Readers who prefer the online reading experience can download the E-Paper from there. Apart from that, the website also publishes regular news updates dividing them into the following sections—Local, Political, Finance, Editorial, Law And Order, World, Entertainment, Featured, Sports, Obituaries and More. It has another category called ‘Live’ in which all the recent updates are published.
Social Media: Daily News has its accounts and channels on different social media platforms to facilitate regular interaction with its readers. On Facebook, the page of Daily News has 72,862 followers. It also has active pages on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Political Controversy: The daily got involved in a political event of Sri Lanka which is commonly known as the Sri Lankan Constitutional Crisis of 2018. During that time many employees of the daily lost their job because they were regarded as the supporters of the New Regime. It is believed that the loyalists of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa were behind this event.
Daily FT (Financial Times)
Ownership: Founded in 2010, Daily FT is another endeavour of the Wijeya Newspaper. This English language newspaper is published from Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Expanse: Daily FT is Sri Lanka’s first and only national business paper. It has its focus on the Post War Economy of Sri Lanka and aims to cater to the development of the country’s capital and business. However, it also covers news related to the local and global politics, social issues, sports and lifestyle.
Digital Presence: It has a website where regular news updates are published under different categories like Columnists, FT Click, FT Lite, Editorial, Opinion and Issues. A sector-wise coverage of financial news is published regularly. There are around 36 sectors which are covered on the website. Agriculture, Dining, Advertorial, Education and Energy are some of the sectors on which news articles are published frequently.
Social Media: Daily FT has pages on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The group maintains daily interaction with the readers through these pages.
Ownership: Times Online was initially started by the Times Group Of Sri Lanka. In 1986, The Times Group became dysfunctional. This allowed Wijeya Newspapers to buy a large share of the company and finally, in 1991, Sunday Times which was later renamed to Times Online was started.
Expanse: This weekly newspaper’s current circulation count is 330,000. Eminent defence journalists like Iqbal Athas and Ameen Izzadeen are regular contributors of the daily.
Digital Presence: The newspaper has its website to maintain a digital presence. The website has categories like News, Business, World, Sports, Gallery, Videos, Matrimonial and Times jobs. The site also has a section for the E-paper where the daily is published in the digital format. It also has an archive of its own printed and digital copies for historical and official usage of the publication. The group also has its social media pages on Facebook and Twitter with a follower count of 34,599 and 8,180 respectively.
Ownership: The Island started its journey in 1981 as one of the leading English dailies of Sri Lanka. It was founded by Sri Lanka’s most successful business entrepreneur, Upali Wijewardena. After his tragic death in a plane accident, his company Upali Newspapers is the current owner of the daily.
Expanse: The newspaper currently has a circulation count of 70,000 with its Sunday edition called Sunday Island’s distribution count reaching up to 103,000. Sunday Island was started in 1991, ten years after the commencement of the main newspaper. Divaina, another endeavour of Upali Newspapers, is regarded as the sister newspaper of the daily.
Political Leanings: This newspaper is reported to be on the side of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party which continues to be one of the major stakeholders of the country’s politics.
Online Presence: Keeping up with the current times, The Island has a website. Regular updates and breaking news are published here. It also has its own Facebook page.
Ownership: Launched in 2011, Ceylon Today is an English Language Sri Lankan newspaper headquartered in Colombo. Ceylon Newspaper Pvt. Ltd., a company owned by Sri Lankan political Tiran Alles, is the owner of the daily. Mawbima, a Sinhala language newspaper of the island is known to be its sister newspaper.
Digital Presence: Apart from the daily printed versions, the daily also has its website and social media accounts. The website has sections like Local, Business, Politics, World, Sports, Interviews, Entertainment and Cartoons. The site also publishes breaking news updates, currency rates, updated local weather and a host of other relevant information.
Social Media: Ceylon Today has its social media handles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. On Facebook and Twitter, the page has 16,697 and 40.5K followers respectively. Its YouTube channel, on the other hand, has 12.4K subscribers.
Controversy: The first edition of the daily was published on 18th November 2011. Within less than a year, Lalith Allahakkoon, the editor-in-chief of the group was sacked on 13th June 2012. Hana Ibrahim, the treasurer of FMM (Free Media Movement), was appointed as the new editor-in-chief of the newspaper.
It was reported that Hana Ibrahim had used his position inside the FMM committee to stop it from reacting to the unjust sacking of Lalith Allahakkoon. Later, Hana Ibrahim resigned from FMM and continued to be the editor of the daily. Currently, Jayantha Sri Nissanka is the editor of Ceylon Today.
Ownership: Started in 1834, Sunday Observer is a weekly English language daily of Sri Lanka, owned and published by a government-owned newspaper company called Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited. Daily News, Dinamina, Silumina and Thinakaran published by the same enterprise are its sister newspapers. It is one of the very few newspapers started in the colonial period which is still in circulation.
Expanse: The daily has a long history and has evolved quite a lot with time. Its development is intricately linked to the history of Sri Lanka and the newspaper’s history also documents how the country had changed and persevered from the colonial times.
Online Presence: Like all other present-day dailies, Sunday Observer also has a website and social media handles on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
D. English News Sites
The media groups in Sri Lanka are also conscious about the changing time, and they are doing their best to provide their readers with the upgraded reading experience. The modern busy life requires the best utilization of time and reading while on the go has been the present trend. Keeping this in mind, many news sites are blooming on the island. Here, we bring to you a comprehensive list of the English News Sites that are currently operating in Sri Lanka and the world beyond.
Lanka News Web
Expanse: Lanka News Web is a trilingual news portal that was started to get readers of all languages under one platform. For the past ten years, the news portal has been quite successful in its agenda and has published news of all sorts. Currently, the portal publishes news under categories like Featured, Gossip, Art, Sports, Business, Foreign, Interviews, Archives, etc. It has a separate section for Latest News and Press Release.
Specialization: The news portal is well ahead of its contemporaries as it has a separate category for publication of news related to the environment. It also has two other categories called ‘Regional News’ and “Beyond Borders’.
Social Media Presence: Apart from English, the website has separate pages for Tamil and Sinhalese languages. Lanka News Web is active on all the social media pages, starting from LinkedIn to YouTube. On YouTube and Facebook, it has 41.2K and 110,790 numbers of subscribers and followers respectively. It also has Twitter and Instagram handles where regular news updates are posted.
Ownership: News First is a Sri Lankan media group owned by the Capital Maharaja Organization Ltd. The website was first launched in 2007. It has garnered a lot of attention with its systematic and consistent publication of news across Sri Lanka and beyond. It has its headquarters in the MTV building of Colombo.
Website: The website has categories like Latest, Featured, Local, World, Sports, Business and Life. It also has a Live TV option through which news telecasts are done. The group also has three of its TV news channels linked to the website. Apart from English, the website has similar versions available in Tamil and Sinhalese.
The group has its online news archive for reference. In August 2013, the website received a silver medal at the Best Web Awards of Sri Lanka.
Lanka E-News (LEN)
Lanka E-News or LEN is one of the most unbiased news reporting websites of Sri Lanka. It was created to let news reach the common people of Sri Lanka.
Keeping in mind Sri Lanka’s fragile political situation and the history of civil war, the newsgroup has done commendable work by being committed to its motto of free and independent journalism.
Controversy: However, it had to bear the brunt of the government and other political parties vengeful behaviour. Time and again the site was banned and their office was burnt to ashes. Its editor Bennett Rupasinghe was arrested after the news site published several Anti Government articles. Sandaruwan Senadheera, one of its past editors, had to flee Sri Lanka after receiving several threats from powerful people and organisations.
The site got international attention when one of its journalists, Prageeth Eknaligoda, went missing two days before the Presidential poll in the country. He was investigating a case of Sri Lankan Government’s illegal usage of chemical weapons on the Tamil soldiers during the civil war. This created quite an uproar both in the national and international spheres.
Presently, the group apart from its website also has social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook. On Facebook, 168,083 people follow its page for regular updates.
Ownership: News.lk is the official website of the Sri Lankan Government, maintained by the New Media Unit of the Department of Government Information. It was first started in 1996 and one year later, in 1997, the web platform was launched.
Website: The website published news under the following categories – News, Economy, Features, Cabinet Decisions and Reviews. It also has sections to publish International affairs and news related to Politics, Sports, Business and Entertainment. In 2018, it received the Silver award in Best web Sri Lanka award in the Media, Sports and Entertainment category.
Social Media Presence: News.lk, like all other Media groups, has social media pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Expanse: Capital Media Pvt Ltd, the owner of Echelon Magazine, started Economy next as a News-Site dedicated to the coverage of Financial, Political and Economic news of Sri Lanka. Despite its exclusive focus on Sri Lanka, the site also published different news articles related to the world economy and finance. Headquartered in Colombo, the group has its editorial team full of Sri Lankan journalists.
Asantha Sirimanne is the founder editor and Arjuna Ranawana is the executive editor of this online news publication site. The group also has social media pages on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
History: Colombo Telegraph was started in 2011 by a group of exiled journalists from Sri Lanka. This site is run as a voluntary service given by these journalists who are committed to their motto of free and fearless reporting.
Motto: In recent years, the Sri Lankan Government has been exerting control on the different media houses and has many times been successful in curtailing the journalists’ freedom with news censorship. Colombo Telegraph has been established to fight these grave injustices and to pursue the path of truth.
Instead of promoting fake and mindless propaganda, the site focuses on publishing relevant news articles that are important for the present and future of the nation.
Started in 2020, Colombo Page is an internet-based news publication enterprise. The site has a special section to publish and highlight the different breaking news of the island nation. It also has an archive for systematic storage of news articles. Most of the articles published on this news site are sourced from the very well reputed news agency called Reuters. Despite having its primary focus on Sri Lanka, the site is operated from Indianapolis, USA.
Sri Lanka Army
Expanse: Sri Lanka Army is a news site maintained and administered by the defence ministry of the country. It publishes all the relevant information regarding the recruitment in the force. It also updates information based on the different field of operation of the defence force. The site is dedicated to the publication of news related to the different activities of the army and is used for the promotion of the Defence force.
Social Media Presence: The site also has accounts on several social media pages like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Sri Lanka Guardian
History: Sri Lanka Guardian was founded in August 2007 by a group of Sri Lankan journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants.
The news portal receives regular contributions from writers all over the world. Apart from its specific focus on Sri Lankan news, it has a great range of publications and opinion pieces on world affairs.
Expanse: The site has categories like Editorials, Columns, Features, Art and Culture, World View, and also Human Rights. A Sinhalese version of the website is available for native readers.
Social Media Presence: The news site also has its pages and accounts on different social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Lanka Business Online
History: Lanka Business Online Pvt. Ltd. was started in 1998 as a media company with a diverse range of focus interest. Starting from media to digital marketing, the company has projects in all the related fields.
Digital Presence: The website has categories like Economy and Markets, Industry, Opinion, Politics etc. It also has social media accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
The group has successfully claimed the position of leadership as a successful online digital marketing news platform of Sri Lanka.
Island Cricket is a news site exclusively dedicated to Sri Lankan cricket fans. It focuses on Cricket news and publishes articles on the lives of famous and successful cricketers of Sri Lanka and the world. The site has categories like Top 10, News, Videos, Photos, Blogs and Tweets. Along with articles, the site is mostly populated by audio-visual contents.
Sri Lanka Mirror
Sri Lankan Mirror is a news-site of Sri Lanka that has quite often made the headline for its fearless and unbiased reporting. The site is Tri-Lingual and publishes news in English, Sinhalese and Tamil. It was banned by the Sri Lankan Government for publishing news that went against its interest. Eight of its journalists were arrested for charges of maligning top government officials. However, editor Kelum Shivantha in an interview with Reuters withstood his ground and refuted the claims of the Government.
Digital Presence: This trilingual website has various categories under which news are published. Apart from the common categories like Sports, Entertainment, special sections like photo stories and Interviews are also published on the site. Its news coverage is not limited to Sri Lanka and thus the site also has extensive coverage of news from all over the world with a special focus on news from the neighbouring countries.
Social Media: The Facebook page of Sri Lanka Mirror has 38,078 followers. It also has pages on Twitter and YouTube. The Twitter handle has a total follower count of 13.5K.
E. Sri Lankan Newspapers in Tamil
Apart from the Sinhalese, Sri Lanka also has a large Tamil population. This is why the island has quite a few numbers of Tamil newspapers. In this section, we bring out the most popular Tamil newspapers that are currently circulated on the island.
History: Virakesari is one of the oldest Tamil newspapers of Sri Lanka. It was started on 6th August 1930 by PPR Subramanian. He was an Indian entrepreneur and journalist who migrated to British ruled Sri Lanka during the first half of the 20th century. On seeing the pathetic working condition of the Indian labourers over there, he decided to publish a newspaper to give them a voice of their own. His main motive was to establish a newspaper to promote justice and equality in the British ruled island.
The word ‘Virakesari’ means ‘Victorious Lion’. The first twenty years of its publication was operated by the founder Subramanian himself and during this time the newspaper overcame all the challenges to remain true to its name. The daily was successful in capturing the attention of the Indian population-based in Sri Lanka with its honest reporting of the plantation workers’ crisis.
In 1948, with the attainment of freedom from British rule, the Sri Lankan Government came up with the Ceylon Citizenship Act. Following which, PPR Subramanian returned to India as he was not ready to give up his Indian citizenship permanently. Before moving back to India, he sold the rights of publication to a small group of Sri Lankan citizens with Indian origins.
The daily has indeed come a long way and its history is probably longer than all other newspapers. After fighting thousands of battles in the past, currently the daily occupies the position of the largest selling Tamil Newspaper of Sri Lanka.
Digital Presence: The daily also has a website through which news is published on the online domain. The site has pages on different social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. On Facebook and Twitter, it has a total follower count of 391,112 and 40.8K respectively.
History: Thinakaran is a famous Tamil language daily of Sri Lanka. It started its journey on 15th March 1932. Presently, it is published by a Government-owned organisation called Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited. The same organisation also publishes famous newspapers like Sunday Observer, Silumina, Dinamina and Daily News.
Expanse: Headquartered in Colombo, the newspaper has a daily circulation of 50,000 copies. Its Sunday edition called Thinakaran Varamanjari has a total circulation count of 70,000 copies.
Digital Presence: To maintain effective communication with its readers, the daily has its website. The website has a separate section through which the e-Paper is published and circulated for the Tamil readers in Sri Lanka.
Ownership: This Tamil Newspaper of Sri Lanka started publication in 1997 under the ownership of Asian Media Publications Pvt. Ltd. Pandit Rajagopal, former editor of Tamil daily Virakesari started this enterprise.
Several attempts have been made from different spheres to stop the daily for its anti-government stance. However, the daily continues to be one of the most read Tamil dailies of Sri Lanka.
Expanse: Thinakkural has also expanded its publication into online platforms. It has its website publishing news under categories like ‘The World’, ‘Local’, ‘Article’, ‘Cinema’, ‘Technology’, and ‘Sports’. It also has a separate section on the website to display the relevant tweets that are being made from the group’s Twitter handle.
Uthayan, a Tamil daily of Sri Lanka, first started its publication in 1985. It was founded by E. Saravanapavan, a famous Tamil politician of Sri Lanka. Headquartered in Jaffna, the newspaper is owned and operated by Uthayan Group of Newspapers. Colombo based Sudar Oli, published by the same company, is the sister newspaper of the daily.
F. Tamil News Sites
There are several Tamil News Sites that have originated from Sri Lanka and are currently operating across the internet. These sites have facilitated easy access of news to both Tamilians in and out of Sri Lanka. In this section, we mention the most visited Tamil News Sites of Sri Lanka.
Ownership: TamilWin is a famous online news site that has successfully withheld its international position. Baskaran Kandiah is the present owner of the site. He is the co-founder and Director of Lebara Group. Currently, this Europe based Telecom company has operations in six countries. Kanadiah was born in Jaffna, in Sri Lanka and had a great liking for the Tamil language. This was further nurtured by his mother. He grew up to become a successful entrepreneur and took up the responsibility of revamping many Tamil news sites and radio channels. He is now a resident of the Netherlands and is still committed to his mission of giving his language a global platform.
Expanse: The Website TamilWin is not only popular in Sri Lanka. But it also has readers in countries like India, England, France etc. The site has categories like ‘Cinema’, ‘Sports’, ‘Technology’ and ‘Lifestyle’. TamilWin also has designated space to highlight the daily headlines and has a separate section for the Latest News. Apart from that it also publishes information related to Astrology for the readers. The site also has regular contributors who publish different opinion pieces concerning the various important political events across the world.
4TamilMedia is a news website that operates for Tamilians all over the world with a special focus on two countries—India and Sri Lanka. Presently, the website publishes news on categories like Special, Cinema, Science, Spirituality and Video.
Social Media Presence: The site has its social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook, it has 161,355 number of followers. On Twitter, the handle has a follower count of 3741.
Ilankainet is a Tamil language news publication website. It has sections called ‘Literature’, ‘Sports’, ‘Articles’, ‘Interviews’ etc. The site also has pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The Facebook page has 7572 followers and The Twitter handle has 510 followers. Apart from news articles, it publishes different news videos for the people.
Launched in 2010, Jaffna Muslim is a news site that focuses on both News of Sri Lanka and the World. It is committed to representing the Muslim minority community of Sri Lanka. Headquartered in Jaffna, the site publishes news for all Tamil readers across the world.
The website has columns for publication of articles, interviews and opinion pieces. Its Facebook page has 149,022 number of followers. News is shared on these social media platforms to facilitate effective circulation among the readers.
Today Jaffna is a Tamil News Website that publishes news from Sri Lanka with a specific focus on the Jaffna region. It was started in 2014 and the website has sections for publication of Local and international news alongside coverage of news related to Cinema and Social problems.
Lanka Sri is a Tamil news site designed for Tamils living all over the world. The website has a Live Radio and TV section through which news broadcast is facilitated to Tamilians of different countries. Moreover, the site has a special section for publication of news related to Tamil Cinema.
On Facebook, it has 966,166 number of followers. Its Twitter handle has 4611 followers. The group has its App which can be downloaded from the PlayStore for a better reading experience.
Hiru News is a trilingual news site of Sri Lanka that publishes news in Tamil, Sinhalese and English. The website has a section called Hiru TV that broadcasts daily updates of Sri Lanka in the Tamil language. The News site has categories like Local, World, Entertainment, Business and Sports. It also publishes different political and filmy gossips.
Social Media Presence:
The site has its page on Facebook with 2,208,616 followers. Its Twitter handle has 103.9K followers. Its YouTube channel has 842K subscribers and on Instagram, its total follower count lies at 90.3K.
Lanka C News
Lanka C News, also known as Lanka Cyber News, is a news Website of Sri Lanka that publishes news in Tamil. The Website has categories like Top News and Breaking News. It contains all the daily updates of Sri Lanka and the world.
G. Sri Lankan News Agencies
Like most other national media, Sri Lanka also has a press agency, whose primary function is to act as a repository for news. In other words, this agency takes up the task of collecting news, which in turn, is used by indidividual media houses.
Lankapuvath is one of the national news agencies of Sri Lanka. It has its headquarters in Colombo. Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited are the shareholders of the agency. The agency has an active link with the national news agencies of other countries and with the organisation of Asia Pacific News Agencies.
Sri Lanka Press Council
Sri Lanka Press Council is an organisation responsible for the circulation of relevant news all over the country. It also oversees the registration procedure of newspapers and magazines. One of the main agenda of the council is to ensure freedom of the press and ensure a safe reporting space to the journalists working in the country.
Starting from the Colonial Times, Sri Lankan print and digital media have indeed come a long way. The Sri Lankan print media that was once started by the British has now become an integral part of the political and social climate of the island. Moreover, the introduction of digital and internet-based publication has given rise to the presence of a variety of media groups. This has further diversified the variety of news published and has ensured an inclusionary representation of the different communities present in Sri Lanka.
Despite different bans imposed by the government, there have been many journalists and media groups who are working their best to remain committed to the agenda of truthful and unbiased reporting.
Sri Lanka, as a nation, has been through a lot of political turmoil one of which being as grave as a civil war. In situations like these, media becomes one of the most essential tools for communication and the Island has not been an exception. Media houses have often been associated with different political parties and personalities and have worked to further their interest. However, an opposite trend has also been noted in which veteran journalists, activists and social workers have stepped in the domain of news production and circulation, achieving considerable success in their ventures. So it can very well be said that the island continues to express different forces in the sphere of media which again opens up an array of avenues for its citizen.
Realizing that the media industry will only keep growing, especially Sri Lankan media, we at MediaBuzz are dedicated to staying right on its tail, to bring to our readers an up-to-date coverage of every possible news source. Our team is built with professional writers who have an unquenchable enthusiasm for finding out trends in the field of journalism.
That being said, we would be more than enthused if help us out in our quest to know more by answering these questions in the comment section:
- Which are the top 3 Sri Lankan newspapers, according to your tastes?
- Have we missed out any relevant news source in our list? Please mention which ones.
- What is your view on the authority’s control over the news in Sri Lanka? What do you think about the political turns of the different newspapers?
- Which Sri Lankan news sources, do you think, are doing the best at maintaining neutrality?
- What do you think about our categorization of news sources in this article? Would you suggest any other category?
- Did any particular newspaper or website catch your attention?
- Do you read any of these Srilankan newspapers already? Are any of these your favourite?
- Is there any crucial information we have missed out on, related to Sri Lankan newspapers and news sites in Sri Lanka?
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